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Speaking to the Soul: The power of prayer

Speaking to the Soul: The power of prayer

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


Image: By Edouard FrèreWalters Art Museum: Home page  Info about artwork, Public Domain, Link


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leslie marshall

I’ve used that prayer my whole life, & sometimes I used it as a distraction from what was going on around me… bad weather in a small sailboat, heartache from a break up, loneliness when going away to college, turbulent overseas flights, dentist’s chairs, Maternity wards, restless nights, wrong turns in bad neighborhoods … always a comfort, always connecting me with Jesus. I like that it is so straightforward, and matter of fact, that God sincerely cares for our every need. It’s very personal.

Troy Haliwell

I went in to the Sanctuary today to pray my rosary and light a candle for my mother who died this past January 30. It is a hold-over tradition from my RC days, and it is always on a Tuesday or Wednesday depending on my working schedule.

No one was in the Sanctuary at the time, although Taize music was playing as they were testing the sound system. I had seen the Good Friday lay leaders in their earlier but they were not in there at the time.

So I said my entire 7 decade rosary 3 times though, wanting the solace and the meditation experience that it can give you. Never did I hear the two of them come back in, I did not hear them talking, or the other three who had joined them in conversation. I did not hear all five of them leave either, nor evidently did I hear the discussion they were having about the website I built for our Montessori school (

Guess that showed me something powerful about prayer–it can insulate you completely from the outside world!

leslie marshall

–what a wonderful witness to the LORD.

Leslie Scoopmire

Yesterday I led a burial service with a group of family and friends in shock. It was the Lord’s Prayer that united and anchored us.

leslie marshall

…i hope that parents are still teaching that prayer to their children. Something they will call on their whole life.

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