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The Prayer to End All Prayers (1 of 10)
The Lord's Prayer
May 13, 2001
Next to John 3:16 and the 23rd Psalm, the Lord's Prayer is probably known by more people than any other passage of scripture. Many churches recite it every Lord's Day as a part of normal Christian worship or liturgy. For some the "Our Father" is a secret ritual or magic saying designed to guarantee heaven's attention. Clearly that is not Jesus intent. The context alone would clue us into that. Listen to the two preceding verses: (Mat 6:7-8 NIV) And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Some become rather contentious arguing that this isn't the Lord's Pray. They insist that the real Lord's Prayer is found in John 17, the long "high priestly" prayer of Jesus spoken on the night before the cross. All of that seems to me to be beside the point. If this isn't the Lord's Prayer, whose is it? Of course, this is a prayer taught by Jesus. It was intended as a basic teaching or primer on what prayer is all about. Jesus assumed that real praying is not necessarily a natural thing for us humans. We need to be taught what it is all about. If we aren't taught right, we tend to drift into all sorts of distortions and perversions of real praying.
Historically, some have contended, with good reason, that this is the Prayer to End All Prayers. Augustine (4th century AD) wrote, "Run through all the words of the holy prayers, and I do not think you will find anything in them that is not contained and included in the Lord's Prayer." St. Thomas Aquinas (13th century AD) called it "the most perfect of all prayers." Tertullian (2nd century AD) called it the "summary of the whole gospel." Apparently among some of the earliest Christians, it was customary to repeat the Lord's Prayer three times a day (Dida ...
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