Some two billion Christians know and love and regularly pray the Lord's Prayer. When people pray so often with such well-known words, there's always a temptation to roll right through them—to get quickly to "the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever." The destination is worthwhile, to say the least.

It's sort of like climbing a familiar mountain trail. Along the way, climbers get occasional peeks at the peak, and many push on just to get there. Yet those in-between lookouts—they're for more than catching a breath and wishfully looking up. They're also for looking outward, horizontally. The view, and where it allows the viewer to go, has a way of moving thought beyond thanks for elevation gain.

Take for example that midpoint line in the prayer, "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." It's a kind of prayer within The Prayer. In those few words, there's no invitation to list grievances or personal desires. As with the Lord's Prayer in its wholeness, "Thy will be done" invites the one praying to openly acknowledge God and all that He's made as real and sacred and discernible. The joy of pausing at this point, and of going to God in prayer at any time, is that although we may be seeking solace for ourselves, we may find that the view Godward takes us naturally away from private concerns, and outward to that horizontal and inclusive love for others.

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June 27, 2005

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