He 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.”
~ Luke 11:1 - 4
There is something comforting about ritual. I spent a number of years as a young person and young adult attending the Roman Catholic Church. One of the things that I found comforting about attending mass is that it didn't matter where I attended, it was the same. Including prayers, responses, and the order.
There is something about walking in the door and knowing what to expect next.
While the way I practice my faith has changed, I still have times when the sacredness of ritual surrounds the way that I live my faith.
As a hospital chaplain, I have been invited to be present to witness a variety of traditions and rituals of many faith traditions, but I will say, the Lord's prayer is part of a ritual that brings people together.
I can remember one patient, who was not fully conscious, reciting the prayer with a room full of people as he was in the process of dying. It brought such peace to the room, and complete inclusion of everyone who was present.
The way that it is taught, recited, and remembered may be different, varying in the words used, it is still an important ritual that Jesus taught.
Being mindful that God is holy, and sacred, we recognize that the Kingdom of God is something we look to and are invited to be present among us each day.
While the bread we require feeds us physically, there is also the need to be fed spiritually. Asking God to supply is a daily act of thanksgiving.
Remembering to forgive others, while also forgiving ourselves when we have done wrong or been wronged is a constant call to us to practice grace.
For me, being reminded that my relationship with God is everlasting, and that I am part of an eternal kingdom brings a sense of comfort every time that I say this prayer, and helps to bring hope.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear Lord, I know that heaven is Your home, but I am Your home as well. Your name is sacred, and I call You Lord. I'm grateful for the bread which You provide, and Your Spirit that gives me strength. Forgive me, Lord, when I fail to do what's right, or when I am unable to see the bigger picture. Help me to forgive myself, and stop beating myself up when I feel that I am less than what I need to be.
Help me to change "should have's" into grace, and that I may fully move forward with my life, learning from the experience. Help me to not be tempted by the things that will remain in this world, while recognizing when I am tempted by things or others to keep You from being my priority.
Lord, may I learn that eternity is not the blink of an eye, or the days that my life are lived here on earth. That eternity for me began the moment that I was first known in my mother's womb, and You held me within the palm of Your hands, even unto the time that I take my last breath and finally see You face to face for all time.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.