Our Redeemer's Blog

Lord, Teach Us To Pray: Adult Forums in Lent

(For youth classes, go to this LINK)

Sundays, February 21 thru March 28 – 9:30 AM

Zoom Link

Passcode “Adult”
Meeting ID: 945 4145 3039

Dana Wright, an Our Redeemer member will lead our adult forums. Dana Wright has an M Div from Fuller Seminary and a Ph D in Christian Education from Princeton Seminary. He has taught in congregations and seminaries in the United States and India and written essays on Christian Education in books and periodicals especially focused on the work of the Holy Spirit in human thought and experience in the thought of James Loder. At Our Redeemer’s, he helps teach the Sprouts class and serves on the Faith Formation and Generosity Teams.

Teach Us to Pray – Based on the Lord’s Prayer, Matt. 6:9-13

The church knows the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew’s Gospel as a staple of liturgical devotion. But the prayer should also be known as “the Disciples’ Prayer.” Jesus does not teach his followers a formal prayer for use in the temple or synagogue so much as a prayer of survival on the streets. Jesus’ concern is to teach the disciples to depend upon the Father for living obediently (i.e., righteously) to the call of radical discipleship in the world. In such a world disciples will be assailed on all sides and tempted to compromise their convictions and distort their witness to the Reign of God. The Disciples Prayer does not take the disciples out of the world but follows the “downward” movement of Christ’s Incarnation where Immanuel, “God with us,” takes hold to reorient us and equip us to represent Christ in a lost and needy world. We might even say that all true prayer, based on the Disciples’ Prayer, follows this downward, incarnational pattern.

February 21: “Our Father Who Art in Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name.” Jesus begins his instructive prayer by orienting the disciples to the creative origin of all life and blessedness, the Father in heaven. “Our Father” denotes community and intimacy. The Father does not have to be cajoled to give grace and mercy. But this intimate connection does not overshadow the fact that the Father is holy. God is our Father but not our buddy. Our source of existence is the transcendent but intimate Father.

February 28: “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, on Earth as It Is in Heaven.” The disciples are to prayer for God’s heavenly authority and power to come to earth. Implied here is that the disciples are invested in God’s reign making itself known in the world. Disciples know that the last, best, and only hope for the world is the coming and present reign of God. The verbs are imperative and passionate: “Bring your kingdom.” “Make your will active and sure among us.” 

March 7: “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread.” Moving downward to the very nitty gritty of human existence, the prayer recognizes God as the source of earthly, embodied, existence. The Father’s reign is not so holy that the common concerns of daily human existence are not central to God’s concerns. Disciples recognize that God is a materialist and a humanist in their daily prayers.

March 14: “Forgive Us Our Debts as We Forgive Our Debtors.” The prayer of the disciples goes further down into the recesses of human existence. Human beings cannot live by bread alone but by the Word of God taking root deeply within our spirits where ongoing forgiveness is essential. But the wording here may also indicate economic well-being. Disciples do well not to over spiritualize the prayer that Jesus taught them. The reconciliation and justice we extend to others through forgiveness debts may be a central feature of the prayer that we ignore to our peril.

March 21: “Lead Us Not into Temptation but Deliver Us from Evil.” The prayer moves down deeper into the place where the issues of life come up again and again. The prayer recognizes our tendencies toward waywardness, both our tendencies to place ourselves in tempting circumstances and our tendencies to get ourselves mixed up into the most egregious and dehumanizing attitudes and actions. All of our actions come from the heart, and in the disciples prayer we pray for God’s strength to maintain purity of heart.

March 28: “For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory Forever, Amen.” This phrase was probably added to the prayer to make it suitable to formal worship. But we might also understand this phrase in light of Irenaeus’ wonderful phrase: The glory of God is humanity fully alive.” Downward movement after the pattern of Christ, who thought it not equality with God something to be grasped, resulted in glorification.

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