O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Gracious God, you call us to fullness of life:
deliver us from unbelief and banish our anxieties
with the liberating love of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O praise the Lord, all you nations;
praise him, all you peoples.
For great is his steadfast love towards us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
Reading: Luke 11.1-4
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.’
For many of us the Lord’s Prayer has always been there; we cannot remember a time when we could not recite its wonderful words. In our modern times it is not so ubiquitous. Children do not master its flowing poetry either before or after starting school, nor during those formative years of compulsory education. In fact, when preparing services of baptism, marriage or funeral I have to check that its words have been included in the Order of Service. I cannot presume, as was once the case, that everyone present will know the words!
Throughout the two thousand year history of the Christian Church, the Lord’s Prayer has always been there, and with good reason. Jesus gave us this prayer in response to his disciple’s plea: Lord, teach us to pray. In these few words Jesus gave us the perfect model for bringing all of our hopes, fears, needs and praises to God. In these few words Jesus demonstrates his own teaching about avoiding verbosity and display when we pray.
Everyone, without exception, has times when they find it difficult to pray. Everyone, without exception, find themselves getting tongue-tied and inarticulate when they try to pray. Everyone, without exception, knows those times when they have so much to pray about, but they just cannot find the right words. These are the times, amongst many others, when the Lord’s Prayer can come to the rescue.
In the Lord’s Prayer we find prayers of worship, hope, intercession, confession and deliverance. When he was asked how to pray, Jesus’ response was a masterpiece of how to do just that. No matter what may be uppermost in our minds, the Lord’s Prayer ensures the completeness of our prayer. The Lord’s Prayer also models the directness with which we can approach God, just as we should be able to approach our earthly fathers. Jesus does not give us a model of prayer that is wrapped up in convoluted linguistic devices, instead he tells us to approach God in the certainty that, whoever we are, we will be listened to.
So, when you pray, use the Lord’s Prayer. Sit back and listen. Listen for that still small voice of God’s response to your worship, hope, intercession, confession and desire for deliverance. For the glory, the power and the honour are his for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayers of Intercession
Let us pray with confidence to our Father in heaven.
Hear the prayer of the Church for her work and worship, as we look to the coming of the Kingdom. Keep all Christian people faithful in prayer, trusting that as we ask so we shall receive.
We pray that the will of God shall be done through all the world, until its people are made one in him. We pray for a new spirit among nations, that disputes shall be ended, differences reconciled and debts forgiven.
Come in blessing to us, to our families, friends and neighbours, and give us what we need day by day. Give grace to all in our community, to share generously the good things we are given with those who have little.
Pardon and heal all who are caught in bitterness and resentment about wrongs that they cannot forgive. Deliver from evil those who are sorely tried as they make decisions for their lives.
Receive in mercy the souls of the departed and forgive the sins of their lives on earth. Grant them peace and joy for ever in the Kingdom of Heaven.
May our prayers be accepted in the name of Christ, who has taught us how to pray.
Prayer for the week
Lord and heavenly Father,
make us mindful of your presence with us;
that we may draw near to you
with holy and humble hearts,
and offer prayers and praises
acceptable in your sight;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ,
I would come to you,
live my life for you,
Son of God.
All your commands I know are true,
your many gifts will make me new,
into my life your power breaks through,
Patrick Appleford (b. 1925)