Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Disciple's Prayer

The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In GodGreat! explanation of the "Lord's Prayer" (and prayer, generally) in Divine Conspiracy, and how one can use it properly to shape and strengthen life in God by dwelling in it over and over again.  Here's the highly abbreviated version, extracted from pp. 253-69.

The basis of prayer is not conversation, but request.

Structure of this prayer: address, requests 1-5 (& added doxology).

Address:  "Our Father, the one in the heavens...this is the configuration of reality from within which we place [ourselves] within this configuration and receive it by grace."
1.  Use lectio divina on great passages, eg. Gen 1, Gen 15, Ex 19, 1Kings 8; 2 Chron 16 & 19; Neh 9, etc. and Luke 11, Romans 8, Phil 4.
2. Adopt a posture that effectively enlivens and directs us toward God.
3. Take time to fix our minds upon God and orient our world around him.

Request 1: "Hallowed be Thy name .. asks that the name of God should be held in high regard."
1. Perhaps better phrased "let your name be sanctified", since sanctification places the person(s) referred to in a "separate and very special kind of reality" and may apply to human persons too.
2. "it is also the natural request of a child who loves its "Abba" (Daddy)... we want to sense its longing that "Abba" should be recognized as [the greatest]... We want to dwell on this meditatively and perhaps weep for sadness that God is not so understood."

Request 2: "Thy kingdom in the heavens" follows from the first request, for the loved child wants the "reign" of its Abba to be everywhere.
1. "on earth as in the heavens" merely clarifies the first phrase. "Come" does not mean "come into being", but that the "kingdoms" of the earth may be displaced or brought under God's rule.
2. "Kingdoms" are "the places we spend our lives"... and "our activities more than those of other people...we are therefore asking that we be assisted to act within the flow of God's actions."
3. We also pray "for our Father to break up the higher-level patterns of evil", ie the structural and institutional evils that prey and rule upon the earth.

Request 3: "Give daily bread daily" asks for whatever we really need to live in a functional manner today.
1. "The emphasis is on provision today of whatever we need for today...Today I have God, and he has the provisions. Tomorrow it will be the same."
2. "What hinders or shuts down kingdom living is not the having of such provisions, but rather the trusting in them for future security."

Request 4: "Don't punish us for things we do wrong and forgive us..." -- Forgiveness means to release our right to revenge.
1. Only pity or mercy (not "justice" in the sense of parity) makes life possible.
2. Once we step into this kingdom and trust it, pity becomes the atmosphere in which we live... We are praying for help to forgive others, for we know we cannot do it without
3. To honor our parents, we will usually have to have pity on them, forgiving them...."People who are merciless, unable to pity others and receive pity, simply have a hard life full of unsolvable problems." (Some former members of our church spring to mind.)
4. Regarding those who cannot forgive themselves: "More often that not, these are people who refuse to live on the basis of pity. Their problem is not that they are hard on themselves, but that they are proud...They do not want to accept that they can only live on the basis of pity from others, that the good that comes to them is rarely "deserved"."

Request 5: "Don't put us to the test/bring us into temptation" is not just for "evasion of pain and of things we don't like"
1. "It expresses the understanding that we can't stand up under very much pressure... it is a vote of 'no confidence' in our own abilities."
2. "As the series of requests begins with the glorification of God, it ends with acknowledgement of the feebleness of human beings."
3. "As we attentively make this prayer a part of our constant bearing in life, we will see how God indeed does keep us from trials and delivers us from evil."  God's provision is not an elimination of trials and suffering, but a gift of totally unbroken care.
4. This request "is a revelation of a God who loves to spare his children and who will always do it upon request unless he has something better in mind, which he rarely does."

"This prayer is a foundation of the praying life, an enduring framework for all praying...a powerful lens through which one constantly sees the world as God himself sees it."

No comments: