Thursday, January 13, 2022

The Lord’s Prayer: The Meaning and Power


The Lord’s Prayer: The Meaning and Power

In Luke 11, one of Jesus’s disciples approaches and makes a simple request: “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John [the Baptist] taught his disciples” (v. 1). In response, Jesus teaches the disciples what has become known as the Our Father or the Lord’s Prayer. No other prayer is more important to Christians than this prayer. It is the Lord’s prayer—the prayer he taught us to pray. There are a host of other prayers we overhear Jesus praying in the Gospels, and I’ll mention them below. But only with this prayer does Jesus say, “Pray like this.”

Each word is saturated with meaning, a meaning that we often miss when we pray it by rote as we gather in our churches for worship. Each of its six petitions (five given by the Lord, one added by the early church) reflects the major themes from Jesus’s life and ministry. The prayer is meant by Jesus to shape our lives and, through us, to shape and change the world.

Multiple Versions of the Lord’s Prayer?

There are three versions of the Lord’s Prayer that came to us from the earliest period of Christianity. We are most familiar with Matthew’s account, found in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:9-13). The English version of that prayer was influenced by William Tyndale’s 1525 translation, which in turn shaped the form of the prayer as it appeared in the sixteenth-century Book of Common Prayer and finally the King James Version of 1611. Tyndale’s version was modified slightly into the version most English-speaking Protestants and Catholics pray today. Let’s look at the King James Version side by side with a modern translation of Matthew’s version of the Lord’s Prayer. Modern versions, in this case, the New International Version, are based upon more reliable Greek versions of Matthew’s Gospel than were available in 1611:

In addition to different versions of the Lord’s Prayer rendered by various English translations, we have a different version found in Luke’s account of the prayer. Here it is from the New International Version’s translation of Luke 11:2-4:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
  for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.
Notice that neither of these New Testament versions of the prayer, Matthew’s or Luke’s, includes the traditional closing doxology, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”

There is a third version of the Lord’s Prayer that comes to us from the early church, in a document called The Didache or The Lord’s Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Gentiles. This is a fascinating document describing the practices of the early church that some scholars believe was written in the first century, and others the second century, offering guidance in the Christian life. In chapter 8 of The Didache we find Matthew’s version of the prayer quoted.
Do not pray as the hypocrites, but as the Lord commanded in his Gospel, pray thus: “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, as in Heaven so also upon earth; give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debt as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into trial, but deliver us from the Evil One, for thine is the power and the glory for ever.” Pray thus three times a day.
Note that this version included the doxology. Note, too, the closing words that are in bold, “Pray thus three times a day.” This is a remarkable testimony to the importance of the Lord’s Prayer for early Christians.

Over the years this prayer has come to mean a great deal to me. I pray it and meditate upon its words in my morning walks with my dogs. I pray it at every hospital and nursing home visit I make. I pray it with the dying, and with their friends and family at each funeral or memorial service.

I once visited a veteran in hospice care. Don (not his real name) hadn’t been responsive in hours. His eyes were closed, his breathing had become more labored, and the hospice nurse said that the end was imminent. He had not spoken since the previous day. I pulled up a chair to the bed, gently took his hand in mine, spoke to him, and also to his family sitting around the room. I reminded him of Christ’s love and his promises. I read Scripture to him. And I told him how grateful I was to have been his chaplain. I then took anointing oil and, with my thumb, made the sign of the cross upon his forehead, a reminder that he belonged to Christ. Finally, with each of his loved ones touching him, we prayed, giving thanks to God for Don’s life and entrusting him to God’s care. At the end of this prayer, I said words I had spoken many times before. “Now, let us join together in the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray saying,
Our Father, who art in heaven,
   hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
   thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,
   as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us, not into temptation,
   but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
  forever and ever. Amen.
As we concluded, one of his children spoke up and said, “Did you all see that?” Another replied, “Yes, I was watching him. He moved his lips, speaking the Lord’s Prayer with us.” It was a holy and beautiful moment. These were the last words Don would attempt to speak before he passed a few minutes later. I’ve seen this happen again and again. Each time it happens, it reminds me of just how important this prayer is to so many. It is deeply embedded in the hearts and minds of most Christians.

The Daily Bible Readings for Thursday, January 13, 2022

Acts 8: Simon the Sorcerer

The Daily Bible Readings
Thursday, January 13, 2022
Psalm 36:5-10; Jeremiah 3:1-5; Acts 8:18-24
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Introduction & Summary

In today’s lectionary readings, our psalm contains some of the most beautiful language of any psalm in the Psalter, as many readers have long recognized. Verse 9 has rightly garnered the most attention: “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” These words profess faith in God alone as the source and foundation of life, security, and goodness. Since the profession of faith appears within a prayer for deliverance that sets the righteous and wicked in sharp contrast, many scholars classify the psalm as a prayer for help by an individual.

In our reading in the third chapter of the book of Jeremiah, God implies that Israel won’t even return to him, saying that she’s like a wife that he’s already divorced. She’s moved on to other lovers, other gods. Israel’s adultery with other gods—committed on practically every corner—has caused a terrible drought. But Israel still refuses to be ashamed.

Tucked into our reading in the Book of Acts, Simon, a magician living in Samaria, has seen the Holy Spirit indwell new Jesus-followers as Peter and John laid their hands on them (Acts 8:9–13, 14–17). He thinks this is a magic trick worth learning.

In our verse of the day, because of our sin and rebellion against God, man has become an arrogant enemy of the most holy Creator. Still, through the death of Christ alone, whose sinless blood was poured out to pay the full price for our sins, we can be reconciled to God and returned into full fellowship with Him simply by trusting Christ as Savior and Lord.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
2 Corinthians 5:19-20

…that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
God created us to be united with Him in an intimate love relationship, and He has entrusted us with the task of telling the world what He has done to make it possible for everyone who has faith in Him to enjoy eternal life and an intimate relationship with Him. Through the Cross, we have the privilege of embracing and enjoying His loving presence forever.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter
Psalm 36:5-10
We Feast on the Abundance of God’s House

5 Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
     your faithfulness to the skies.
6 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
     your justice like the great deep.
     You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
     People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
     you give them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
     in your light we see light.

10 Continue your love to those who know you,
      your righteousness to the upright in heart.


The goodness of God.

Men may shut up their compassion, yet, with God we shall find mercy. This is great comfort to all believers, plainly to be seen, and not to be taken away. God does all wisely and well; but what he does we know not now, it is time enough to know hereafter. God's loving-kindness is precious to the saints. They put themselves under his protection, and then are safe and easy. Gracious souls, though still desiring more of God, never desire more than God. The gifts of Providence so far satisfy them, that they are content with such things as they have. The benefit of holy ordinances is sweet to a sanctified soul, and strengthening to the spiritual and Divine life. But full satisfaction is reserved for the future state. Their joys shall be constant. God not only works in them a gracious desire for these pleasures, but by his Spirit fills their souls with joy and peace in believing. He quickens whom he will; and whoever will, may come, and take from him of the waters of life freely. May we know, and love, and uprightly serve the Lord; then no proud enemy, on earth or from hell, shall separate us from his love. Faith calls things that are not, as though they were. It carries us forward to the end of time; it shows us the Lord, on his throne of judgment; the empire of sin fallen to rise no more.

From the Prophetic Books of Major Prophets
Jeremiah 3:1-5
Unfaithful Israel

1 “If a man divorces his wife
     and she leaves him and marries another man,
  should he return to her again?
     Would not the land be completely defiled?
  But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers—
     would you now return to me?”
  declares the Lord.
2 “Look up to the barren heights and see.
     Is there any place where you have not been ravished?
  By the roadside you sat waiting for lovers,
     sat like a nomad in the desert.
  You have defiled the land
     with your prostitution and wickedness.
3 Therefore the showers have been withheld,
     and no spring rains have fallen.
  Yet you have the brazen look of a prostitute;
     you refuse to blush with shame.
4 Have you not just called to me:
     ‘My Father, my friend from my youth,
5 will you always be angry?
     Will your wrath continue forever?’
  This is how you talk,
     but you do all the evil you can.”


Exhortations to repentance.

In repentance, it is good to think upon the sins of which we have been guilty, and the places and companies where they have been committed. How gently the Lord had corrected them! In receiving penitents, he is God, and not man. Whatever thou hast said or done hitherto, wilt thou not from this time apply to me? Will not this grace of God overcome thee? Now pardon is proclaimed, wilt thou not take the benefit? They will hope to find in him the tender compassion of a Father towards a returning prodigal. They will come to him as the Guide of their youth: youth needs a guide. Repenting sinners may encourage themselves that God will not keep his anger to the end. All God's mercies, in every age, suggest encouragement; and what can be so desirable for the young, as to have the Lord for their Father, and the Guide of their youth? Let parents daily direct their children earnestly to seek this blessing.

From the Acts of the Apostles
Acts 8:18-24
God’s Gifts Cannot be Purchased

8:18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

24 Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”


The hypocrisy of Simon detected.

Simon Magus was ambitious to have the honor of an apostle, but cared not at all to have the spirit and disposition of a Christian. He was more desirous to gain honor to himself, than to do good to others. Peter shows him his crime. He esteemed the wealth of this world, as if it would answer for things relating to the other life, and would purchase the pardon of sin, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and eternal life. This was such a condemning error as could by no means consist with a state of grace. Our hearts are what they are in the sight of God, who cannot be deceived. And if they are not right in his sight, our religion is vain, and will stand us in no stead. A proud and covetous heart cannot be right with God. It is possible for a man to continue under the power of sin, yet to put on a form of godliness. When tempted with money to do evil, see what a perishing thing money is, and scorn it. Think not that Christianity is a trade to live by in this world. There is much wickedness in the thought of the heart, its false notions, and corrupt affections, and wicked projects, which must be repented of, or we are undone. But it shall be forgiven, upon our repentance. The doubt here is of the sincerity of Simon's repentance, not of his pardon, if his repentance was sincere. Grant us, Lord, another sort of faith than that which made Simon wonder only, and did not sanctify his heart. May we abhor all thoughts of making religion serve the purposes of pride or ambition. And keep us from that subtle poison of spiritual pride, which seeks glory to itself even from humility. May we seek only the honor which comes from God.

Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year C. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2022, we will be in Year A. The year which ended at Advent 2021 was Year B. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Morning Prayer for Thursday, January 13, 2022


The Morning Prayer
Thursday, January 13, 2022

Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14, RSV

Dear Father in heaven, give us childlike hearts so that we may understand everything in the right way. Grant us work that bears fruit in spite of our faults and weaknesses, because we want to work with the understanding given by love. Father in heaven, you know that we are faced day and night with many difficulties and setbacks. But you see us, and you will help us so that your name may be honored, your kingdom may come, and your will may be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Thursday, January 13, 2022


Verse of the Day
Thursday, January 13, 2022

2 Corinthians 5:19-20
…that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
God created us to be united with Him in an intimate love relationship, and He has entrusted us with the task of telling the world what He has done to make it possible for everyone who has faith in Him to enjoy eternal life and an intimate relationship with Him. Through the Cross, we have the privilege of embracing and enjoying His loving presence forever.

Read all of Second Corinthians Chapter 5

Listen to Second Corinthians Chapter 5

Scripture from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.

Our Daily Bread — A Ludicrous Investment


A Ludicrous Investment

I knew that this was the word of the Lord; so I bought the field. Jeremiah 32:8–9

READ Jeremiah 32:6–15

In 1929, as the US economy crashed, millions of people lost everything. But not Floyd Odlum. As everyone else panicked and sold their stocks at cut-rate prices, Odlum appeared to foolishly jump in and purchase stocks just as the nation’s future disintegrated. But Odlum’s “foolish” perspective paid off, yielding robust investments that endured for decades.

God told Jeremiah to make what seemed like an absolutely ludicrous investment: “Buy [the] field at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin” (Jeremiah 32:8). This was no time to be buying fields, however. The entire country was on the verge of being ransacked. “The army of the king of Babylon was . . . besieging Jerusalem” (v. 2), and whatever field Jeremiah purchased would soon be Babylon’s. What fool makes an investment when everything would soon be lost?

Well, the person who’s listening to God—the One who intended a future no one else could envision. “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land” (v. 15). God saw more than the ruin. God promised to bring redemption, healing, and restoration. A ludicrous investment in a relationship or service for God isn’t foolish—it’s the wisest possible move when God leads us to make it (and it’s essential that we prayerfully seek to know He’s behind the instruction). A “foolish” investment in others as God leads makes all the sense in the world.

By Winn Collier


Where do you sense God asking you to make a ludicrous investment in someone or something? How will this step require you to trust God in ways that appear foolish?

God, it’s a good thing You see the future because sometimes all I see is ruin and disaster. Show me where to go, where to give my life.


One of the main features in the book of Jeremiah is that the prophet primarily records the message God is giving directly to His people. This was the main role of a prophet, for prophets stood before the people to represent God and His purposes to the nation. In Jeremiah’s writings, this is clearly evidenced in that the phrase “thus saith the Lord” (KJV) appears no fewer than 147 times in this book! That’s 147 of the 431 times that phrase appears in the entire Old Testament. Clearly, Jeremiah was committed to communicating God’s message to His people.

Bill Crowder