by Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.
I grew up in the church. I heard the Lord’s Prayer Sunday after Sunday.
Consequently, I didn’t learn the Lord’s Prayer through strict memorization, but rather by being in community. The Lord’s Prayer became a gift given to me from each person at worship. It was our common language. Our common prayer. Our desire to make sense of this faith. And to be bound to one another in its words.
Week after week, the Lord’s Prayer became a part of me. A part of my body and soul.
The Lord’s Prayer was prayed each week whether I uttered any words or not. It was our communal prayer. When I couldn’t speak a word of the prayer, someone prayed for me. And throughout my life and ministry I’ve been privileged to say these words for so many who couldn’t pray themselves.
I remember the visits as a pastor barely having coherent conversation with a member only to hear them recite the Lord’s Prayer word for word.
I remember the funerals and graveside services where family members didn’t utter a word of the service other than the Lord’s Prayer.
I remember the hospital visits and families surrounding their loved one in the Lord’s Prayer.
I remember my ordination day and praying the prayer surrounded by the varied communities who have supported me in my calling.
I remember sleepless nights anxious about the state of the world and knowing only the Lord’s Prayer for comfort.
That’s the power of this prayer; the power of Jesus’ admonition to pray. There is such beauty in this prayer. It’s this prayer that unites us into community. It’s this prayer that comes to us in our deepest need and our deepest joy.
Now I love watching my daughter as we pray each night and in church. She’s just over 2 and since she was a baby I prayed the Lord’s Prayer with her each night. Many times she’s squirmy and fidgety. Many nights she’s already asleep when I pray. And often she’s been immersed in her books and too busy to stop and pray for a moment. But I continue to recite the prayer. I offer the Lord’s Prayer for myself and for her.
The prayer is seeping into her body and soul.
Someday this prayer will be as natural to her as breathing.
That’s my prayer and my hope.
So won’t you join me in praying the Lord’s Prayer?
Won’t you help teach our children?
Because I promise that I’ll be praying it for you.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of a toddler, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. Her website is http://www.kimberlyknowlezeller.com