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Trinity 7



For over 2000 years the same words have been used, and treasured, studied and memorised.

In church on holiday recently, in a country where I didn’t speak a single word of the language, I was still able to recognise the moment in the service where we reached the Lord’s Prayer, and to join in.

These few lines reach back to the very foundation of Christianity and embrace Christianity around the world.  They, perhaps more than anything, will unite the delegates gathering from around the world for the Lambeth Conference beginning this Monday.

They are the simple answer, given by Jesus, to the request ‘teach us how to pray’.  The readings this week encourage us to be faithful and determined in prayer.  To persist and not give up.  The illustrations are quite amusing, the idea of banging on a friend’s door in the middle of the night, knowing that even if they weren’t sympathetic to your plea for bread to offer to your unexpected guests, they would give you the bread just to be allowed to go back to their bed!

And in the Old Testament, Abraham negotiating with God to save the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah – what if there are 50 good people?  Or 40, 30, 20, just ten?  Then Lord, would you spare the cities to save them?

In the Lord’s prayer we have the framework for prayer but there are no rules.  The illustrations of prayer invite us to be open and honest, natural and at home in prayer.  Even, if needs be, to argue with God.

The Colossians reading too, is reminding us not to allow ourselves to fall into the trap of seeking to find and live by the rules.  Warning us that others will try and impose rules on us and then catch us out not keeping to them. 

To be a disciple of Christ is to be enfolded in the love of God and to be changed by it.  It is to live in the expansive freedom of that love, which I think is much harder to do than it sounds!

A woman who I know only slightly came over to me in a pub garden recently, wanting to talk.  There were things in her past of which she was deeply ashamed and she wanted to know if she could be forgiven.  When I told her that if she was truly able to say that she was sorry, if she was repentant, she would know forgiveness, simple words that she found it almost impossible to hear.  She kept saying ‘really?’ ‘Even what I have done?’ ‘Are you sure’.  I know that God longs not to offer His forgiveness but for her to accept what he has already given.

The hardest part of prayer is to know for what we can rightfully pray.  The Lord’s prayer is our guide; in order to understand it we must come to recognise and seek the characteristics of God’s kingdom, to be rightly orientated and then we find the Spirit becomes our guide.  As it says in Romans:

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. (Romans 8:26)

So give time to prayer, be honest with God, persist and let the Holy Spirit do the work.


  • How were you taught to pray and does it fit with today’s readings?
  • If somebody said to you, ‘teach me how to pray’, what would you say to them?
  • How does the Lord’s Prayer help us in prayer?
Page last updated: Thursday 21st July 2022 9:27 AM
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