66 words that say it all

If someone asked you to sum up God's answer to all the world's problems in seven short sentences, could you? I've often felt amazed at how the beloved prayer of Jesus, known as the Lord's Prayer, says so much so succinctly. Despite its brevity, nothing necessary for communion with our Creator and for the invocation of divine power in our lives appears to have gone missing.

No matter how many times you go over it, the Lord's Prayer has the unending ability to remake itself, conforming to the needs of the day, responding to the urgencies of the moment. There's something in it for everyone at any point in time. Small wonder it's a common element in most any Christian church service, regardless of the particular denomination. In the words of Anthony C. Deane, a former canon of Worcester Cathedral in England: "No other form of words has a hold upon mankind like the few brief sentences of the Lord's Prayer. Not a day has passed without their use since that far time when Jesus taught them to His disciples."

And this prayer has proved itself. In this issue, besides reading people's insights into the most familiar prayer in Christianity, you'll find examples of what praying it has meant to them in specific moments of fear, illness, and confusion. It was there for them. And it will always be there for us — the answer Jesus himself gave when, according to Luke, one of his disciples asked the simple question, "Lord, teach us to pray."

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

June 27, 2005

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