Each of the past two Mondays, we’ve hung out here on the Lord’s Prayer, focusing on a specific aspect of this gift. Today, I’d like to look at two aspects of the prayer I think need to be considered together. Here’s the prayer Jesus gave his disciples again…

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 today our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses 
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.

First, praying “Hallowed be Thy Name” reminds me that I’m not just talking with my roommate or a good buddy. Yes, The God who made me loves me as His child and listens to me more intently than my best friend. This is the God who created everything in existence and holds all things together.  Praying “Hallowed be Thy Name” reminds me that He is making Himself available to me right here in my tiny corner of His big world, which is humbling and thrilling at the same time.

Today, when we pray, lets ‘s reminded that God is not like anyone else we talk to. He is Holy. And in all His perfect power and wisdom, He joyfully receives us into His Presence. He loves to hear from us. And He loves to speak when we are ready to hear… which leads me to this part of the prayer:

“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

What often draws me to pray is the fact that I’ve got something on my mind. But instead of leading with my wants or needs, The Lord’s Prayer asks that I put my own will in the a larger context. Praying the Lord’s Prayer, we are asked to consider that what God wants for us and for our world is bound to be better than what we want.

Jesus asks us to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” So, before I get on with sharing with God my thoughts about what should happen next in my heart or in my family or my neighborhood, I am reminded that God has designs to make everything “on earth as it is in Heaven.” God’s desire is to make everything in the world right, and my life is part of those designs.

Today, as we pray, lets ‘s reminded that God’s plans for His world are beautiful and just and perfect. He wants to know what you want and need. But he also wants you to know that He has your best interests in mind along with the best interests of the entire world.

So.. let’s pray the Lord’s Prayer again. Let’s do it 3x.

FIRST TIME – Just read it or recite it naturally and at whatever pace you naturally move at. Then give yourself a moment and take a few breaths before doing it again.

SECOND TIME – More slowly this time, read or recite the prayer and pay attention to the images, thoughts and feelings that might pop up as you do. Is there a burden that drew you to this time? Is there a line in the prayer that catches you? Don’t think about why you’re seeing, thinking or feeling these things… just pay attention.
Then, after that second pass through. Take a longer pause and focus on that image or thought (or name or face) or the line from the prayer that jumped out at you. Ask the Spirit of God to speak to you about what that means for you.
Then, take another long breath and ready yourself for your third pass.

THIRD TIME – Keeping the thought or image or burden that jumped out at you in mind, read or recite the prayer one last time, even more slowly and then give yourself the gift of silence for a few breaths.

Before you leave this time, ask the Spirit of God to continue speaking to you about whatever image or thought may have jumped out at you. Perhaps ask “Why is that in my mind?” or “Is there a course of action I am supposed to take?”

You may want to use a journal to capture any stay thoughts or record your experience. Sometimes, coming back to what we’ve written later means seeing what it is we were hearing, seeing, feeling more clearly.