Week 12 | Matthew 6:5-15 | Steve Bernard
Pray then like this: “Our Father in the heavens.”
― Matt. 6:9
"By being loyal to the work of God we can share in that work... in every expression of faith and obedience, it is prayer that brings us into a relationship with God and allows us to be fellow workers with him. God calls us to live with him and our answer is: 'Father, I desire to live with thee.' Then he says to us: 'Pray-er, call on me; I hear you, I will live and reign with you.'" ― Karl Barth
"Prayer oneth the soul to God... For though the soul be ever like to God in kind and substance, restored by grace, it is often unlike in condition, by sin on man’s part. Then is prayer a witness that the soul willeth as God willeth; and it comforteth the conscience and enableth man to grace. And thus He teacheth us to pray, and mightily to trust that we shall have it. For he beholdeth us in love and would make us partners of His good deed, and therefore He stirreth us to pray for that which it pleaseth him to do."― Julian of Norwich
9 Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
A correction in this message:
In this message I say that 'heaven' is always in the plural in the original languages. This is incorrect. 'Heaven' is always plural in Hebrew (OT), but in Greek (NT) it is sometimes singular and sometimes plural, but our English translations do not always follow the form of the original language (either in the Old or New Testament).
In regards to the Lord's Prayer which we looked at (in Matt. 6:9-10), the first reference is plural ('Our Father in the heavens') while the second reference is singular ('on earth as in heaven'). In Acts 1, all references are singular, where Jesus ascends to heaven (the place of God's reign), and his disciples stay looking into heaven (the sky) when the angel appears to them (see Acts 1:9-11).
The point I was trying to make remains the same, that the heavens / heaven refers to the unseen aspects of God's creation (the sky and what holds up the stars), as well as the domain of God's reign as King. The biblical authors use it in these ways interchangably, pointing to a reality that while unseen to our eyes, is in fact in our midst - a reality that is not off someplace else but all around us now.
If you have questions, or thoughts that may help further clarify my own thinking, I'd be very happy to chat!
Is there something from today's readings or teaching where you sensed God speaking to you, or us?
What emotions stir in you when you think about prayer in your life?
What does it look like for you practically to work with God in your daily work? How might you train yourself to develop a more 'prayerful mode of being' through your work?
A closing prayer: (by Baxter Kruger)
Lord Jesus Christ, beloved, eternal, and faithful Son of the Father incarnate, thank you for sharing your knowledge of the Father's heart with me. Come into my darkness with your light. Search out my blindness and share your unearthly assurance with me in the place of my deepest fears. Find all my broken parts and bathe them with your Father's love. Continue to pour out your Spirit upon me, that I may be of service to you in your liberation of the human race. Amen