In the Church, the most familiar prayer may be words that we know as “The Lord’s Prayer.” There are some differences in the English-language versions, most notably saying trespasses or debts and including or excluding the last section.
Whatever those difference, the words have their roots in a request a disciple made to Jesus. “Lord, you teach us to pray like John taught his disciples.”
I think of these words as training wheels for prayer, more than a prescription. If it were a prescription, or a magic formula, it would work and only work if we get the words exactly right. We would worry about precision and miss out on the conversation that Jesus is inviting us into with the Father.
Instead, these words can guide our hearts, can move us slowly through recognizing who we are talking with and what is included in that relationship. And Jesus is actually giving us permission to talk about big and little things, to offer and receive forgiveness every single time, to invite the presence of a king and a kingdom.
There is much that can be written about these words. I’ve done it myself. Not of those words are as helpful as the words themselves.
Our Father, who is 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 forever and ever.