Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.
Confession: I have never memorized this prayer.
I don’t know why. It might have something to do with the fact that I’m not Catholic and I always associated it with something that Catholics do. Therefore, my brain somehow translated that to it not being important. Sacrilegious, even. What? That doesn’t even make sense, right? Welcome to my brain.
But then a few years ago, the local Christian radio station started saying it everyday at noon. They call it Pray Down at High Noon. Catchy, no? Anyway, so everyday I hear this
Catholic prayer on the radio and I’m like, maybe it’s not just for Catholics. Maybe I should say it, too. Like all the other good Christians in Houston are doing AT THIS VERY MOMENT.
So I’ve tried saying it with whichever guest artist is reciting it that day and I get through most of it okay, but usually get tripped up on the line about the debts and debtors. I always want to say trespasses and trespassers. (Even though in my, ahem, exhaustive search on Biblegateway.com, every version I looked at said debtors. Whatever.)
It’s not something I’ve ever given much thought to memorizing because it’s just not something that we say in the Baptist church. And then I read this blog post by one of my favorite bloggers over at It’s Almost Naptime. And she says it with her kids. And a light went on for me. This isn’t just a Catholic prayer.
It’s the RED LETTER MODEL FOR HOW TO PRAY AS TAUGHT BY JESUS HIMSELF, prayer.
So I resolved to learn it. Correctly. And teach it to my kids. So that I can use its model to teach them how to pray. Which is where I’m headed with this post.
So my son goes to a local Mother’s Day Out program in the mornings at one of the Lutheran churches in town. And they are so awesome. They teach all sorts of bible stories. Like Noah and the Ark. And Jonah and the Whale. And David and Goliath. And Jesus and the miracles. And I’m guessing, The Lord’s Prayer.
Because tonight, y’all, I decided to say it over him at bedtime in effort to, um, start teaching it to him, and you know what that little bugger did? He started reciting it right along with me. Better than me.
My two-and-a-half year old.
I still got tripped up over the debtors part but not him. My boy just kept on praying and looked at me like, Mommy, what are you saying?
And my mommy heart got real big with pride. And my Baptist brain got a swift kick in the pants.
Afterwards, I was doing the dishes and thinking about that incredible thing I just witnessed. And I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t think God really cares if you’re Catholic or Baptist or Lutheran or Methodist. Whether you go to church with shorts on or your Sunday best. Whether you worship from a hymnal or if you have the biggest, baddest band on the planet. Because at the end of the day, that’s just stuff that we make up to make us feel good about going to church. We’ve made church more about us and less about Jesus.
But Jesus doesn’t care about all that stuff. What He really wants is our adoration. Our worship. Our heart.
So we must teach our kids how to pray. And to know that Jesus loves them with a love that will never ever never end in spite of their sin. Regardless of what church they go to. Whether they do the sign of the cross or bow their heads and close their eyes.
Because in the end, what matters is Jesus.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever.