The Lord’s Prayer — Prayed as One who Hurts

As I revealed in a previous post, I pray the Lord’s prayer at least three times a day…and these are some thoughts that often accompany that prayer in recent months and especially given how May 21 is now meaningful in the same way for both John and Maggy Dobbs and myself with the death of our sons, John Robert Dobbs and Joshua Mark Hicks. I realize it is a communal prayer but in my daily recitations I often think of it individually–it is ultimately both communal and individual. My thoughts are usually a mixture as most of my thoughts these days are fairly “mixed up.”

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“Our Father”

I trust that you are my Father, that you really do care. I am uncertain about that on many days and as I face my losses today and look life in the eye I will hang on to this confession–You are my Abba, I know you love me, I believe you care about me, and I trust that you are with me.

O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand (Isaiah 64:8).

“who is in heaven”

You are the powerful one and I am powerless. You can and I can’t. You reign from your heavenly throne. I bow before your transcendent majesty confessing that I am small and you are great. I am too small to understand and too impotent to do anything about this world or my own life. I confess that you are in heaven and you do whatever you please. I am powerless unless you work through me, Father, because I can do nothing on my own. I can’t, you can, and I invite you to reign in me.

Our God is in the heavens and he does whatever he pleases (Psalm 115:3).

“Sanctify your name!”

God, do something!  Humanity defies you. If they don’t spit on your name, they use it to justify their violence, oppression and greed. Your name is desecrated on the earth. Sanctify your name; reveal your righteousness.  May the earth witness the glory of your name!  I need to see it; I need to know that you care about your name. Though I often doubt, I will exalt your name and wait for you to honor your own name in the earth. Honor your name through me, O God. Sanctify your name by sanctifying me. For the sake of your name, renew me.

O Lord, O Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth (Psalm 8:1).

“Your kingdom come!”

I know you reign even now from your heavenly throne, but it does not feel like it many times. I know your kingdom is yet future because this world does not look like your kingdom. There is too much hurt here, too much pain, too many wars, too much injustice and oppression.  Bring your kingdom, Father.  May your reign fill the earth. Make me an instrument of your coming kingdom; may my life reflect your reign.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made (Psalm 145:13).

“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”

Who does your will upon the earth now, God? I know that I do not. I confess that my will usually supercedes yours. But I yearn for the moment, Father, when you will accomplish your will through me, when your will will thoroughy and completely transform me into your image. I beg for the day when you will reverse the curse that envelopes your earth, when you will bring heaven to earth, and the earth will be filled with your glory. Why do you wait, O Lord? Remove all the hurt, pain, suffering and sin from this earth. Remake it in the image of your heavenly community.

Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones (Isaiah 49:13).

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

I confess, Father, that I often depend upon myself, that I often trust in my own sustenance and my own abilities. Remind me daily, God, of my daily dependence upon you. Remind me that I have nothing without you and you are the giver of all good things.  But, Father, give me only what I need that I might trust you and learn contentment in your arms. Protect me from the love of money and the pride of wealth. Help me to live one day at a time.

[God gives] wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts (Psalm 104:15).

“Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.”

Father, I harbor such resentment in my heart that I am terrified to petition you in this manner. I forgive so imperfectly and so relunctantly; I would rather harbor my hatred to soothe my own soul with illusions.  I resent those who have never known loss and I resent even you for my losses. God, forgive me and empower me to forgive others; give me the strength to “forgive” even you whom I seem at times to resent the most. Thank you, Father, for your grace, your understanding, your reconciling love.  Remove my resentments, forgive my sins, and heal my relationships with others. Sanctify me that I might forgive as you forgive.

For the sake of your name, O Lord, forgive my inquity, though it is great (Psalm 25:11).

“Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

How many times have I prayed this one though it rarely seemed effective?! My God, trials and temptations have overwhelmed me; adversity is always near me.  Where have you been? Why haven’t you protected me? Why haven’t you comforted me?  Why haven’t you delivered me? Evil surrounds me in all forms. But I know I can do nothing better than to entrust myself to you…so I continue to pray, I continue to beg. Reveal the power of your deliverance, O God.  I am powerless before the Evil One and I need your power or else I am lost and defeated. Father, redeem me; help me! 

I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay (Psalms 40:17).

“For yours is the power, the glory and the kingdom.”

Despite all my doubts, Father, I do believe it all belongs to you.  I am powerless and you are powerful. I am weak and you are the glory. I am fallen and you are exalted. I trust that you will reveal yourself even though I have many reasons to doubt; turn my heart that I might trust more deeply and love more profoundly. I will hope in your future reign upon the earth.  I will seek and embrace your transforming power in the present. I will trust you for I have no one else to trust. Where else can I go? 

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom, you are exaled as head over all (1 Chronicles 29:11)

O Lord, hear my prayer and answer me!

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” (1 Chronicles 16:31).



9 Responses to “The Lord’s Prayer — Prayed as One who Hurts”

  1.   Trent Tanaro Says:

    I have been struggling with the pain and suffering around me. I see it in my life, the community in which I live and within the Kingdom. Your posts on suffering have assisted me in this struggle.

    Struggling……
    Trent

  2.   Quiara Says:

    Since you mentioned this last time, I, too, have adopted the practice. I pray it morning, noon and night and any time it crosses my mind. Praying it mindfully, aware of everything we’re asking and invoking in those deceptively simple words — it has made a difference in my day-to-day like few things have. I stumble in forgiveness quite often; some days, I’m not certain I even really know what it means. So I pray those lines hoping all the time that God forgives even when I haven’t, while I haven’t and as I haven’t. I, too, long to see the inbreaking of the kingdom. Sometimes it seems so far away.

  3.   rich constant Says:

    AMEN JOHN MARK

    RICH

  4.   Randall Says:

    Jmh,
    Thanks once again for sharing. I’m sure you don’t mind if I use this as a daily devotional.

    I would appreciate being able to use it as a sermon too, at a congregation overseas, with your permission? Of course I would attribute your comments to you.
    God bless,
    Randall

  5.   ben overby Says:

    Thanks for opening up your prayer life for us to learn from.

    One thing I do is pray daily–and throughout the day–that the kingdom of God, His reign, will manifest itself in some way through me. My prayer goes a bit like this, “Let your kingdom come through me–let your reign be evident in the small words and deeds of this day. Let it spread into my family–my wife and two boys. May your kingdom come into my work, and into this community. Let your will be done in my life, in the life of my family, and into all you’ve given me stewardship over today, as it is in heaven.”

    At the close of the prayer, I’m especially mindful of the fact that it is our Father’s kingdom, His power, and His glory forever. This humbles me, reminding me that it is really his reign, not mine. He gets the “bragging rights,” because any wee touch of good that might flow out of me is because of his power. Most of the HR problems I have to manage are due to a failure to appreciate this simple truth uttered by King Jesus 2000 years ago. That is, the kingdoms and queendoms are constantly bumping into each other, sparking little, hateful power struggles as each attempts to hang on to something like their own personal kingdom and consequent glory. And so, I pray that I can give these words (the Our Father) life by subtly pushing them into our company’s values. Without specifically giving Jesus credit, I’m using his sermon on the mount as the template for how my employees are to interact with each other. In a world of physicans, PA’s, etc., egos grow large and can choke out the seeds of the kingdom. It is hard not to embrace the gospel of Macheiavelli; it’s easier to unleash power rather than submit it to God’s kingdom, and in meekness keep personal power under control. Sometimes it feels impossible and it’s all too easy to allow positional power absent the kingdom to dictate my actions. That is, it’s easy for me to allow my kingdom to work off it’s own capital rather than the capital of THE kingdom. The “our father” keeps me centered though often stumbling. The only hope that the kingdom can actually grow in the world is by the power of God. It’s his kingodm, his power, his glory.

    ben overby
    boverby@southeasterncardiology.net

  6.   Gardner Says:

    The prayers in your books and here provoke analysis of my own prayer life which I will confess is often not what it should be. I also appreciate Ben’s commentary and his sensitivity to the emptiness of the world and the power of prayer to respond to it.

  7.   preacherman Says:

    Thank you for this post.
    I am teaching a class Sunday mornings on the prayers of Jesus.
    I love this prayer and your thoughts on this subject.
    I have been filled.
    God bless you brother.
    I hope you have a blessed weekend.

  8.   garybartlett Says:

    Your post mirrors the conversations I have had recently in my prayers. Thank you for being transparent and sharing your thoughts. May God give you peace.

  9. Profile photo of John Mark Hicks  John Mark Hicks Says:

    I appeciate the comments, friends. I think of whatever I post as free for use without my further permission or even credits. I don’t really care about “credit”–just share and use what you think is helpful.

    Shalom

    John Mark

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