The Disciples: “Lord Teach Us to Pray.” (Luke 11:1)
Elijah: “Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.” (cf. I Kings 18:24)
How do we breathe life into the Lord’s Prayer?
Brad, If you go to church every Sunday, you probably have recited the disciple’s prayer a few thousand times. It’s a sacred, Holy Spirit inspired prayer so we are always “learning to pray.” When you look at the prayer’s brevity, it’s a prayer you could say on the run or in the midst of a battle. Our marching orders, the “Great Commission” is often paraphrased, “As you go into all of the world.” I think this is how we should preface the Lord’s prayer, “As we go into battle, ‘Our Father’…”
Karen, One of the great prayer warriors in the Old Testament was Elijah. James 5 states: “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.” How would Elijah interpret the Lord’s prayer?
How would Elijah interpret each of the sections of the Lord’s prayer?
THY KINGDOM COME
Karen, Elijah understood the spiritual battle. He engaged in hand to hand combat with the kingdom of darkness, King Ahab vs. the kingdom of light, Yahweh. When we say “Thy Kingdom Come,” our words are “like fire” that shatter and reduce our enemies to their knees.
Brad, Even though we don’t see “fire” we believe the prayer, “Thy Kingdom Come” changes our world.
THY WILL BE DONE
Karen, Elijah brought a dead man back to life from the nether world by the will of God. We are not conceding defeat when we say “thy will be done”, we are inviting the God of miracles to show up at our Mount Carmel.
Brad, We also place our lives into the hands of “Our Father.” When Elijah faced the prophets or the wicked king and Queen, he knew his success was up to the “Lord’s Will.”
GIVE US THIS DAY DAILY BREAD
Karen, God feeds Elijah at the brook by a raven. Then the Lord provides more food miraculously at the widows’ bread and breakfast and finally in the cave, angels feed and nourish the weary Elijah. Small children don’t worry about their next meal. Children experience today but don’t worry about “what shall we eat?’ or ‘what shall we drink?’ and ‘what shall we put on?’”
Brad, The children of Israel expected and then eventually despised their daily miracle of manna. Days can become monotonous and become our individual dead rituals. Instead, we must find a way to approach each day as a prelude to the miraculous and ask “How is God going to supernaturally feed me today?” St Ambrose once said, “If you receive the bread each day, each day is today for you. If Christ is yours today, he rises for you every day. How can this be? “You are my Son, today I have begotten you.” Therefore, “today” is when Christ rises.”
FORGIVE US OUR SINS AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US
Karen, How did Elijah feel when Ahab sincerely repented and God spared His judgment? If he didn’t have the same gut feelings Jonah experienced when God spared Nineveh, he is a better follower of God than I am. ‘
Brad, Elijah’s sin was covered by offerings like any other Old Testament figure. Like every hero of faith, he took sin seriously but also believed in God’s forgiveness.
LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL
Karen, When Elijah fled from Queen Jezebel, was God protecting Elijah’s soul? Joseph running from Pharaoh’s wife saved the Children of Israel. How much more a woman devoted to the gods of Phoenicia.
Brad, When we pray the Lord’s prayer, we can have the faith of Elijah. To paraphrase the apostle Paul, “the weapons against our Jezebel’s are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.”
FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER AND
Karen, Elijah anointed kings but knew the real King. When God took him “aloft in a whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with fiery horses” he saw the clouds, the darkness and the fire of God’s kingdom.
Brad, The sages said, “Elijah must come” (Matthew 17:10) before the kingdom comes. When he stood on Mt Tabor, the kingdom and the power briefly intersected earth. In the Seder, our Jewish brothers and sister leave a place for Elijah. Christians think of the place the two witnesses will have during the day of the Lord. We too can be witnesses of God’s power and live with no thought of tomorrow with God’s kingdom intersecting our hearts and minds. As Elijah’s successor prayed, “Open our eyes, Lord, so that we may see the hills full of horses and chariots of fire” (cf. 2 Kings 6:17-20).