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“The Lord’s Prayer was able to contain it all.” These are the words Helmut Thielecke, pastor of the Church of the Hospitallers in Stuttgart, Germany, to explain why he preached on the Lord’s Prayer during the last terrifying days of World War II. It may seem an odd choice for such a time, with the constant fear and desperation his listeners faced as their homes were bombed and lives destroyed, but it brought the hope and comfort they needed.

This is a prayer used by all Christians throughout the centuries. It is simple yet profound. Shared by Christians everywhere, it is part of the glue which gives us a commonality. The Lord’s Prayer has been used by Christians since the days of the early church. Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches all use it widely.

One of the things that appeals to us in this prayer is that it challenges us to know Jesus in a better and deeper way. When properly understood and used, it stretches our intimacy with Him. Yet often we either neglect to use it entirely, or we use it so often it becomes rote ritual with no real thought or meaning. It’s a prayer we all know but seldom really understand.

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1) this is the prayer Jesus gave. It was not meant to be repeated over and over without thought, but was to be a framework, a model, a pattern and a guide for how we pray. What does prayer look like? It looks like the Lord’s Prayer.

How old were you when you first learned to pray the Lord’s Prayer? What memories does it evoke? How often do you use it? Pray it now, thinking of all it contains. If you don’t know it by heart you can read it in Matthew 6:9-13.

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