Dear Church Family,

NOTE: I began a new Sunday School class last week that looks at the gospels through the eyes of the common culture of the time and Middle-Eastern customs that the original audience would have known all about and we usually don’t. We are using a book by Kenneth Bailey our guide. Bailey is a New Testament professor who lived in the Middle East for 60 years. All are welcome to this class at 10am Sundays in the Fellowship Hall.

Jesus said, “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…” –Matthew 6:9

For our evotional today I wanted to share a story that Kenneth Bailey shares at the beginning of his section on the Lord’s Prayer:
“After the fall of the Soviet Union I was privileged to lecture in Riga for the Latvian Lutheran Church. Most of the participants in the seminar were between the ages of 25-35. This meant that all of their education had been in the communist state system, which was determined to indoctrinate them in atheism. I asked one of the young women about how she came to faith.

‘Was there a church in your village?’ I asked.

‘No, the communists closed all of them,’ she replied.

‘Did some saintly grandmother instruct you in the ways of God?’

‘No. All the members of my family were atheists.’

‘Did you have secret home Bible studies, or was there an underground church in your area?’

‘No, none of that’ came the answer.

‘So, what happened?’

She told me the following story:
‘At funerals we were allowed to recite the Lord’s Prayer. As a young child I heard those strange words and had no idea who we were talking to, what the words meant, where they came from or why we were reciting them. When freedom came at last, I had the opportunity to search for their meaning. When you are in total darkness, the tiniest point of light is very bright. For me the Lord’s Prayer was that point of light. By the time I found its meaning I was a Christian.’”

What a blessing the Lord’s Prayer, simple as it is, was in her life. What a blessing it is and can be in our lives and how much do we take for granted that we can pray and speak to him!

As our prayer today, let’s pray the Lord’s Prayer together.
Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Christ’s Peace be with you today,