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Series: #1 Using the Lord’s Prayer

I grew up going to Catholic mass, so the Lord’s Prayer (or the “Our Father”; see the prayer in Matthew 6:5-15) was one of the first non-musical pieces of writing that I memorized growing up. Yet, for most of my life, this was nothing more than something we recited in unison during the mass with our hands joined. I liked the hand-joining, and I still do think it makes sense (the first word of the prayer is “Our”).

But the Lord’s Prayer has become a rich source of personal connection to God for me, largely due to Stephen Smallman’s book The Walk: Steps for New and Renewed Followers of Jesus. In the book, Smallman walks believers new and old through some of the basics of our faith–I commend the book to you for personal or group study.

Now, back to the Lord’s Prayer. I think when Jesus gave us this prayer, He gave us a template for guiding us during times of prayer, and it’s a template that, like the gospel, we don’t outgrow.

I believe that each segment of the Lord’s prayer is useful for guiding us in our times of prayer. In this series, I’d like to explore that idea.

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John Piper on Reaching Young People

In his book Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper gives me an inkling of what my calling might be, as a public high school teacher:

Of course, we do not use the word cool to describe true greatness. It is a small word. That’s the point. It’s cheap. And it’s what millions of young people live for. Who confronts them with urgency and tears? Who pleads with them not to waste their lives? Who takes them by the collar, so to speak, and loves them enough to show them a life so radical and so real and so costly and Christ-saturated that they feel the emptiness and triviality of their CD collection and their pointless conversations about passing celebrities? Who will waken what lies latent in their souls, untapped–a longing not to waste their lives? (p. 129)

This poignant passage moves me, and may the Holy Spirit continue to stir the fire that Piper’s words here stir. So many of the young people who I interact with every day are simply dying for something that matters, something that is bigger than themselves or their iPods.

I pray that God would be glorified in spreading a passion for this vision to thousands of public school teachers. May He be glorified in a hoard of teachers teaching their subjects well, and while doing so live lives of joyful love and mercy and sacrifice that magnify Christ and make people glad in God. May God give us the grace to set our faces like flint to join Jesus on the Calvary road (paraphrased from Piper, p. 129).