Sunday, February 24, 2008

Reflection: Prayer and Dependence

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,
and the power,
and the glory,
for ever and ever.

The Lord's Prayer has always been a part of my life. I can remember saying it as a young child and have continued to recite it in the life of worship. However, when I really meditate on the Lord's Prayer I really cannot help but focus on the formation it calls for. Focus on the RED words highlighted above in the Lord's prayer. The possessive nouns and the verbs highlighted really call us to be formed by God. God's kingdom come. God's will be done. God give us this day. God forgive us our trespasses. God lead us not into temptation. God deliver us from evil. For God's is the kingdom.

God is the focus of the prayer, and the focus is on dependence upon God. Their is a realization that God is the primary actor in creation and the world and calls for the reciter to realize this and depend upon God.

Today I went to a meeting in which Rufus Campbell, a District Superintendent in the Minnesota Annual Conference, framed this thought in yet another way. In conversing with a lady who was posing a question, Rufus reminded us that often the church to often "depends" on its own skills and resources rather than depending on God. Easy to diagnose and say, but man is that a hard truth to change. It is hard to depend upon another person. That means that control is ultimately out of your hands. That is scary! But should that be scary? I mean we are talking about God here. God who created us. God who loves us. God who gave up God's own Son so that we could have life. God who suffered and died on the cross for us. Is there anyone or anything that could be more trustworthy and dependent? Yet often we are overcome by fear. It is easier for us to trust that we can get things done. It is less scary when we are in control, or at least that is what we think. But more and more I am coming to realize that self-dependence is just an illusion of security. Looking back on my life, it is pretty obvious to me that I screw things up. God doesn't screw things up. God mends the broken hearted. God takes me as a screwed up individual and walks with me trying to show me the way. Now only if we, or maybe I should really say "I", can remember that and really submit to God's will being done in my life and the life of the church.

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