Take the Lord’s Prayer. When I pray, “Our Father in Heaven,” I am acknowledging that there is something, someone higher than me, higher even than the social norms we happen to favour at present, to whom I am answerable and will one day give account. Praying, “Thy kingdom come,” makes me imagine a social order that is more just and fair than the one we have now, yet guards me against any sense that it is solely down to me to bring it about at whatever cost to my enemies, or even my friends. “Thy will be done,” helps me recall that it’s not about what’s good for me — it provokes examination of heart and motive that can help me to recognise when I am on some kind of power trip to advance my own career or glory. When I pray, “Forgive us our sins,” it makes me realise that I can get things wrong and need to be suitably humble with my opinions and convictions.
Prayer reminds me that my opponents are people too, that they deserve respect even if I think they are profoundly wrong. It tells me of my need to forgive those who “sin against us”.
Praying, “Give us this day our daily bread,” gives us notice that we have received so much that we do not deserve, cultivates a vital note of gratitude and a protection against the kind of hubris that thinks we did it all ourselves.
Read it all (requires subscription).
2/2 The Rt Revd Dr Graham Tomlin, Bishop of Kensington is a renowned church historian, writer & theological educator. Lecture is open to all pic.twitter.com/0uL6tyXikV
— Southwell Minster (@SouthwMinster) November 6, 2017