When You Pray

When You PrayWhen You Pray
Daily Bible reflections for Lent and Easter on the Lord’s Prayer
Joanna Collicutt

The BRF Lent Book 2013

Joanna Collicutt provides the BRF Lent Book for 2013 based on the lesser-used version of the Lord’s Prayer as found in Luke's Gospel.

Joanna writes: It arises from my increasing awareness in recent years that the Lord's Prayer contains all that Christians really need to know; it is the very essence of the gospel. It was the practice of the early church to prepare candidates for baptism during Lent by teaching them the Lord's Prayer and using it as the basis for instruction in the faith, sometimes supported by the creeds. In a society where most could not read or did not have access to a Bible and, before the final canon of the New Testament had even been agreed, where disputes about heresies raged, the Lord's Prayer could be held on to as the gift of Christ himself and a distillation of all that the Church understood him to be.

Through the readings Joanna demonstrates that for the Church today the prayer can, in the same way, provide the basics of everything needed for discipleship.

Praying the Lord's Prayer is an expression of and vehicle for our relationship with God. It enables us to imbibe gospel values and motivates us to live them out.

But this is not all. Joanna also explores the deeper level of the prayer.

We not only follow after Jesus and not only enjoy a relationship with Jesus, but also are somehow incorporated into Jesus… In praying the Lord’s Prayer, human beings take on the character of Christ. We don't just act in obedience to Christ or in conformity with Christ, although, of course, we do both of these. In some very deep sense, we are incorporated into Christ and are 'in union' with Christ.

When you Pray begins by paying attention to Jesus' attitude to prayer as it is told by the Gospel writers before going on to examine each phrase of the Lord’s Prayer. Joanna draws on current scholarship and the other Gospel accounts, writing throughout in a very accessible style.

The final week of readings follows the passion narrative as told by Luke, allowing the power of the narrative to be read without the distraction of commentary. Each day simply concludes by connecting themes from the narrative with themes from the Lord's Prayer studied in previous weeks so that the Lord's Prayer can be seen in the light of the passion of Christ.

The edition of the Lord's Prayer most familiar to the Church is found in Matthew's Gospel. The Luke edition is much shorter and has been chosen for this study because it will be less familiar to readers and will enable people to come to the study of the prayer afresh. The book includes questions for group discussion. An introductory video to the book and a video introduction to each week of readings will be made available free for use by individuals or Lent reading groups by BRF.

Joanna Collicutt is the Oxford Diocesan Adviser on the Spiritual Care of Older People and a Lecturer in Psychology and Spirituality at Ripon College Cuddesdon. She has published a number of books, including The Dawkins Delusion? (SPCK, 2007) with husband Alister McGrath.

When You Pray is published on 23 Nov 2012, priced £7.99, ISBN 9780857460899, pb, 208 pages. Available from your local Christian bookshop or directly from BRF.