The Lord’s Prayer Is More – “Praying in the Reign”
—Grace & Truth Linkup
“Then something special happened.
Somehow this collection of words morphed from being the Lord’s Prayer to becoming a model of prayer for me. They went from being an object for rote recitation to something alive.
It became a model for teaching me not only how to pray, but also how to live.”
– Bruce Green, Praying in the Reign
My copy of the book opens with this:
Bruce was one of my youth ministers (if we used that term back then) when I was a teenager, even though looking back, he wasn’t much older than I was. He was one of my favorites.
Bruce and another of my favorites, Barry, held many a devotional on weeknights in the back of Barry’s feed-and-seed store in downtown Madison (back when it was a quiet little town). We’d sit around on feed bags to listen and talk about scripture and Jesus.
But now that we’re grown up, we rarely see each other. So I was delighted to sit at Bruce’s feet again in his book Praying in the Reign about the Lord’s Prayer.
Bruce breaks the Lord’s Prayer into seven sections, then subdivides these even further with theological explanations but also with demonstrations of how the Lord breathes and moves behind the words.
“It is not a formula of words to be mindlessly repeated, but a spiritual pattern to guide and shape us. It is not an end in itself, but a means of leading us into a deeper righteousness.”
Because I recite this prayer often at the end of my Centering Prayer time, I appreciated hearing a fresh perspective on the individual phrases.
For example . . .
“When mercy and kindness are shown—the kingdom comes. When someone chooses forgiveness over bitterness—the kingdom comes. When the oppressed are uplifted—the kingdom comes. Whenever God’s will is enacted on earth—the kingdom comes.”
And this . . .
“Take the little word ‘for,’ which connects the doxology with the last part of the prayer about being delivered from evil. We pray this prayer of deliverance because (‘for’), ‘Yours is the kingdom.’“
Just as I remembered, Bruce is still very intelligent, still good with words, and still very kind. I’m grateful to connect with him again (even if one-sided this time) through this book.
“So I ditched the word ‘dependent’ for ‘desperate.’ If someone is desperate for something, they have to have it. They can’t survive without it. The Psalmist says, ‘As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God’ (42:1). We are more than dependent upon God; we are desperate for Him.”
* ~ *
“Typically in our speech (if not in our thinking), we reserve the phrase, ‘God answered our prayers,’ for those times when God has brought about the results we desired. But these words can be a poor way of expressing our understanding of prayer as well as God’s work. It can also crush the spirits of others, because it sounds as if we’re saying He hasn’t answered the prayers of those who didn’t get the results they desired.”
* ~ *
“When we submit to Christ, we enter into not just the kingdom (John 3:5), but we take our first step into heaven as well.”
revised from the archives
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Grace & Truth Featured Post
In our Featured Post this week, Karen gives us ways to partner with Jesus in bringing heaven to earth.
Read all of Karen’s post here at her blog, then link up your own blog posts below.
“How to Manifest Moments of Heaven on Earth”
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- On the Blog—August 2022
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I appreciate these deep thoughts concerning the Lord’s Prayer, Lisa. Thank you for sharing your reflections and Bruce’s quotes. It’s such an important reminder to believe “how the Lord breathes and moves behind the words” and that this prayer “is not a formula of words to be mindlessly repeated, but a spiritual pattern to guide and shape us.” Love and blessings to you!
I have read a number of books and heard lots of teaching on the Lord’s Prayer but your friend’s book sounds like a deeper, more personal look. I think I may need to add it to my soon-to-read stack. 🙂
Thanks for hosting. I hope you have a blessed long weekend.
Looks like a great book. I’ve added it to my TBR list.
I am listening to an old CD of a message on the Lord’s prayer by Elisabeth Elliot and this post.is a wonderful companion!
Just like the 23rd Psalm, the Lord’s Prayer, while short, speaks volumes. I love looking deeper into well-loved passages.
I also loved this, “We are more than dependent upon God; we are desperate for Him.” So truy! I AM desperate for Him. Nothing else will do.
I did an exegetical study on the Lord’s prayer last year on my blog Lisa.
So I was interested in your post here today. It sounds like a most interesting read.