Mike Cope's blog

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Having now prayed the Lord's Prayer almost every Sunday for a decade with the Highland Church, I've experienced the truth of these words from StormFront: "As a celebration of the gift and call of the new life of trust, a community could not do better than to pray the Lord's Prayer continually, thoughtfully, and with hearts willing to follow its lead. This prayer refocuses our attention from all efforts to secure our lives and well-being to the central issues of God's kingdom. Rather than wealth and accomplishment, the Lord's Prayer lifts up the basics of human life: daily bread, forgiveness, and deliverance from temptation. Prayer shapes a people humble in their habits, steadfast in their faith, modest in their words, just in their actions, merciful in their dealings, and disciplined in their conduct. Such a people trust only in the God made present in the life and death of Jesus, 'for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'"


  • When I was in Dr. Wray's Spiritual Formation class, while studying the lectio divina, I was struck by the power of repetition. I talked to Steve H. about the possibility of not only reciting the Lord's prayer every week, but our Purpose and Mission statement. Like StormFront says, having those things (from the Prayer) at the front of our minds all the time encourages us to live them. What if we heard every week, in a very intentional manner that "our purpose is to call all people to God. The God we call people to is most perfectly seen in Jesus Christ. Our task is to imitate Him.
    We commit ourselves through the power of the Holy Spirit to be God's living expression of Himself on earth" and that our mission "is to make disciples of Jesus Christ who prayerfully join together in missions, ministry and worship."

    I know these things are mentioned often, and are printed in our Helper, but how could they be incorporated more, so that we are truly shaped by what we profess to believe?

    By Blogger Greg Kendall-Ball, at 6/07/2005 07:34:00 AM  

  • I'd love that also, Greg! I think our mission & purpose statements are guides that we need to cling tightly to and perhaps the repetition would help make those as permanent and transformational in our minds as the Lord's prayer now is!

    By Blogger Cheryl C, at 6/07/2005 07:47:00 AM  

  • I used to trip over the "thy Kingdom come" line. It's been relatively late in my life that I've realized that the Kingdom isn't the same thing as the church, or even what the church represents as an outpost or embassy. It's the reign of God. It's something I need to be praying for - not just every Sunday, but every day - to come into the world, yes ... but especially into my heart.

    It's not a line separate from "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," but contiguous with it.

    I'm sure a lot of folks reached this conclusion long before I did.

    I really miss having it reinforced in my prayer life by hearing my siblings repeat it with me on Sunday morning.

    By Blogger Keith Brenton, at 6/07/2005 08:46:00 AM  

  • ...not only reciting the Lord's prayer every week, but our Purpose and Mission statement.

    perhaps the repetition would help make those as permanent and transformational in our minds as the Lord's prayer now is!

    I dunno. I think we're safe in saying that the Lord's Prayer should be etched on the insides of our eyelids, but I can't say the same for mission statements.

    I'd rather not do anything that even appears to put a Purpose and Mission statement on par with the Lord's Prayer.

    By Blogger Matthew, at 6/07/2005 09:21:00 AM  

  • I'd rather not do anything that even appears to put a Purpose and Mission statement on par with the Lord's Prayer.

    Matthew...if the leaders of the church have done the job properly, then the mission and purpose statement of the church are merely logical extensions of the Lord's Prayer, a short list of a few ways that the prayer is worked out in the context of Abilene, Texas.

    What about back in the day when every Lord's Supper table had the "Do this in remembrace..." inscribed on front? I don't think it was elevating that statement to any particular level, it was there to serve as a reminder.

    Similarly, in my mind (and it may just be me), reciting the mission and purpose statement, that the leaders of Highland have put together and to which the church has assented, is to serve as a reminder of what we are to be about.

    So we pray, "Thy Kingdom come." One way in which we respond to that prayer is to imitate the King.

    I hear your concern about elevating a mission statement to the level of creed or "confession," but that wasn't my intent. If we can do this in such a way as to not make this on a par with "The Lord's Prayer," I can only see benefits to being reminded of our purpose and our mission.

    By Blogger Greg Kendall-Ball, at 6/07/2005 09:56:00 AM  

  • Mike -- in your posts about poverty there is an e-mail going around today from Brad Pitt about the poverty in Africa. Below is the e-mail as an fyi... The e-mail has pics, etc. but the blog won't let me post those -- only the copy. If you want the full e-mail on the One Campaign -- let me know an e-mail address for you and I'll forward the complete thing to you. Just fyi.


    Dear Friend,

    Every single day 30,000 children die from the effects of extreme poverty and it almost never makes the news. Tonight, that's going to be different.

    I visited Africa last month with Diane Sawyer to record a "Primetime Live" special, and tonight that program will air at 10pm/9pm Central on ABC. The show is not only about the emergency in Africa, but also about successful projects that are saving people's lives and building new hope in entire communities.

    Yesterday the ONE campaign asked all of us to do something that will make a real difference for the people we met in Africa: sign a letter to President Bush asking him to seize the best opportunity we've had in decades to actually end extreme poverty. The ONE letter asks the President to support three bold commitments at the G8 summit of world leaders on July 6th: more and better international assistance, debt cancellation and trade reform.

    Last week I signed the ONE letter to President Bush, and since yesterday thousands of you have too. That is an amazing show of support. The ONE campaign has set a goal to get ONE million letter signatures by the upcoming G8 summit on July 6th. We can get half way there by the end of this week if you join with me and sign the ONE letter to President Bush and ask your friends and family to sign as well:

    Sign the ONE letter to President Bush.

    Thanks, and please tell all your friends to watch the show tonight: 10pm/9pm Central on ABC.

    Brad Pitt

    By Blogger Michelle, at 6/07/2005 11:06:00 AM  

  • The experience of reciting the Lord's prayer each Sunday has become more and more powerful to me over time. There are occasional Sundays where I'm in such a funk that the music and the sermon (no offense, Mike - at these points its me, not you) - even communion - just fall flat on me. But reciting the Lord's prayer always touches something. I think this happens because I know that - when I speak these words - I am coming into contact with something ancient - something that is much bigger than me and my worries. I join voices from history and from around the globe inviting His Kingdom into my world. On good days, I reflect on the implications of that invitation for my home, my occupation, and in the other places that life takes me. But even on my worst days, it is pulling me out of myself and into something bigger.

    When I worship at other places on Sundays, I really miss this experience.

    By Blogger Matt, at 6/07/2005 12:08:00 PM  

  • Mike,

    The power of repetition has been seen in our own 3 year old class this spring. The past few Wednesday nights we have had a beautiful little 3 year old girl lead the rest of us in the Lord's Prayer.

    About a year ago one of our 3 year old boys stopped me in United where he stood up in the shopping cart and recited it for everyone within earshot. Lots of busy shoppers stood still for a few moments . . . what a blessing. That boy will enter kindergarden this year, and I'm sure could pull it off in front of Highland with no problem.

    By Blogger Buster, at 6/07/2005 12:41:00 PM  

  • Mike,

    Since arriving in Abilene/Highland in September, it's been a blessing to say the Lord's prayer every Sunday. It seems that each week, a different phrase moves me and convicts me. It's true that some repetitious things can become rote and "creed-like," but I don't think the Lord's prayer has or will become that.

    By Blogger timd, at 6/07/2005 01:27:00 PM  

  • It is so regrettable that in the past, the Lord's Prayer was re-named or marginalized as belonging to "an earlier dispensation". I had to be nearly fifry years old before I learned that (obviously) Matthew and Luke were Christians, writing long after Pentecost, for Christians and to make Christians. So, when their gospels say the disciples asked, "teach us to pray", well, now we get the point.

    I have also been blessed recently by reading the Lord's prayer alongside Jesus' temptation in the wilderness. Stones into bread/daily bread, do not test God/deliver us from temptation, kingdoms of this world/your kingdom come. And, do your own will/your will be done!

    Now I can see that his prayer was born out of that beginning of his Messiah-ship.



    By Blogger mchristophoros, at 6/07/2005 03:32:00 PM  

  • I found it interesting that you posted about the Lord's Prayer today because I was just working on memorizing that prayer in Portuguese this morning. It is really neat for me to think about joining my voice with millions of my Christian brothers and sisters around the globe as we recite this prayer every Sunday. Now I will be able to recite it in the same language as my Itu brothers and sisters while I am in Brasil this summer! Thanks for the post and thanks for advocating that we recite the Lord's Prayer every week. It is a great way to help me stay focused on what the Lord really wants to do in my own life and in the world.

    By Blogger Heather A, at 6/07/2005 05:25:00 PM  

  • Buster - Would you please call Gina (my co-worker) and tell her the name of the child? That's a great idea. Thanks! Mike

    By Blogger Mike, at 6/07/2005 07:40:00 PM  

  • Thanks for the post on the Lord's Prayer.

    By Blogger JD, at 6/11/2005 01:57:00 PM  

  • I'm in the process of publishing a book on praying the Lord's prayer and I'm setting up a wiki for my & readers' responses, further thoughts and ideas. I was really struck by the StormFront quote and wondered whether you had a reference or link so that I could make proper attribution?

    By Blogger Andii, at 6/22/2005 12:25:00 AM  

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