I’m glad I grew up in a church where The Lord’s Prayer in unison was repeated meaningfully. We did not rush: Even we children could keep up, conscious of the meanings as we prayed with everyone.
“when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans ….
This is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in Heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one’” (Matthew 6:7-13).
Now, I like to repeat The Lord’s Prayer in the morning as I gaze out the window while my oatmeal porridge bubbles in the microwave.
But when I sometimes caught myself babbling meaninglessly, I had to trace back to where my mind separated itself from the meaning of the words. Then I tried something to keep my mind with the words of the prayer: I used the prayer to guide and expand meanings and related ideas for my prayers to begin the day. For instance, like this:
‘Our Father in Heaven, (And, Father, you are also right here with me in your Spirit.)
hallowed be your name, (May I hold your name holy to the extent that others will be influenced to do so too.)
your kingdom come, (Your kingdom come in all the earth — especially we pray for the people suffering in Nepal. Send people to share you Spirit, your Word, your physical help.)
your will be done (Give me, please today, your words of assurance of your love and grace and eternity to speak to the gentleman I will visit who’s dying with cancer.)
on earth as it is in heaven. (Keep me reading and obeying your Word so my words and actions will be in line with your way and will.)
Give us today our daily bread, (For your bountiful supply I praise you. Cause me to choose healthful foods — and not too many.)
Forgive us our debts, (Those hasty words for which I must apologize.)
as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Strengthen me to forgive instantly.)
And lead us not into temptation (Save us from selfishness. Cause us to be liberal in our giving for your Kingdom’s expansion.)
but deliver us from the evil one.’ (Shield us from Satan’s subtle wiles.)
This way of praying will be different and new every time it is used. Enjoy it, I pray, for Jesus sake, Amen.