By Roberta C. Bondi
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Additional resources for A Place to Pray: Reflections on the Lord's Prayer
1 If it is true that prayer in general is given to us by God as a gift of love rather than as an absolute command to conform to what we are told to do, then this must be particularly true of the Lord's Prayer. Jesus, as I understand him in the Gospels, does not do much commanding of the people around him at all. What he does do is call them to a radical new life in the kingdom of God in which they will be able to thrive as God intends. I believe this is the context in which the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, and in response, he gave them this prayer.
To hear how the long lines of grace, betrayal, pain, faith, doubt, love were interwoven in similar and unique ways throughout the everyday details of each of our lives; to speak of them truthfully, in terms not just of our convictions but of our experience of God, was deeply wonderful. How could I ever have thought the ordinary facts of any human life were insignificant? It was only upon my return from Minnesota at the end of the second year's meeting that I could begin to articulate what I was learning from all this storytelling.
I hate, I despise your festivals . . Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream. Jesus only confirmed this prophetic preaching and made it more radical, as we could see for ourselves. "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled," we read, but also "Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
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