There is a powerful prayer which Christians routinely pray when they get together to worship. They bow their heads, close their eyes, and in respectful solemn hushed tones say the words they believe Jesus taught them to say. It is perceived to be a Hebrew prayer which quietly petitions God for daily bread and forgiveness. It is all that but much more.
Think about what the words of this prayer are saying. The prayer begins by reminding God of God’s intimate familial relation to the community, “Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” The next verse is what the prayer is all about. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” This is a prayer calling on God to act like God and bring in the long-awaited kingdom of God. “On earth as it is in heaven” says the prayer. Implied is the message: There is so much craziness in this world; You, God must act and act now!
There then begins a series of imperatives directed at the deity: “Give us this day our daily bread, forgive our trespasses, lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil.” These are imperatives directed at God encouraging God to act like God.
The prayer concludes with a later added ending, reminding God “for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory.” That is, you, God have the power and the glory to bring in the kingdom. Get to it and get to it now!!!
This is a prayer from people who are aware of the ambiguity, fragility and unpredictability of life. This is a prayer from people who have experienced the silence of God. The Lord’s prayer is indeed a respectful plea for God to act like God. How such prayers effect God are beyond our ken. But the prayer is intended for us more than for God. It is intended to keep us sane in the midst.
Here is a prayer Jews and Christians can pray together, and together wonder if anyone is listening, trusting against trust someone is.