Sonia’s article in the next edition of The Diary April 13, 2017Posted by nicholastufton in Uncategorized.
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In a recent UK national survey it was revealed that six out of seven people pray. This is in marked contrast to those who claim to have no religious beliefs, a number which has climbed steadily to 50.6%. What is going on here? To what or whom are these three to four people in every seven praying and what results do they expect?
Maybe they are indulging in what is known as Pascal’s wager. If God exists, believing in him and living accordingly offers heaven as an upside and mild self-denial as a downside. Not believing, and being wrong, leads to the fires of hell. There’s also the deathbed comment attributed to various famous people that, when asked by the priest to renounce the Devil and all his works, responded with “Now is not the time to be making new enemies.”
Jesus’ followers asked him to teach them how to pray. He responded with, “Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” ‘Father’, is the nearest human analogy we can get to the nature of God’s relationship with us. In Jesus’ day the father was the legal head of the household and was responsible for all its members over whom he had the power of life and death. In Genesis we are told that we are all created in the image of God, the whole spectrum spanning male through female and encompassing all good parental stereotypes. ‘Hallowed’ means, may you and your name be acknowledged as holy. People swear using powerful words. Which is why ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’ may get used along with those describing various bodily functions. That is not hallowing God’s name.
Jesus continued, “Your kingdom come come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” In heaven all are living in harmony, surrounded by love. There is perfect justice and neither pain nor sorrow. “Give us this day our daily bread.” ‘Bread’ is shorthand for food, shelter and all that is necessary for body and soul. “Forgive us our sins as we forgive the sins of others.” If we harbour anger and resentment, it is very hard for us to receive forgiveness ourselves. “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” We are asking for a parent’s good guidance and protection.
You may or may not pray, but if you are minded to, a good structure is firstly acknowledging its recipient and recognising his holiness, praying for the world to become more like heaven, asking for what you need, forgiving those who have wronged you so you can experience the freedom of forgiveness and asking for care and protection. You may be astonished at what happens next.
Sonia. 07747 844265