I’ve been blessed to say I’ve said the Lord’s Prayer many times throughout my life. But this journey brought two recitations of the famous verses that I shall forever cherish.
“Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be 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 trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
In the Magical Books exhibit of the Bodleian Library, a heading of one section made me glance twice. “A spell is the right words delivered in the right way.” I thought about this long after we left the library. Words are powerful.
The Lord’s Prayer is not a spell. There is nothing magical about saying the words. They are right words, yes, but they are fundamentally, just simple words. But these simple words were first said by Jesus, and He said them the right way. He said them with feeling. He addressed His father with a heart that would break for the glory of God and the love of His people. He meant these words.
As I repeated the prayer in Westminster Abbey and again in the first post-reformation Catholic Church in England, I felt the power behind the words. There was a power in the history and tradition and worldwide worship, but it was more than that. The power resides in the Father to whom we pray. All that’s left to say is, “Our Father…”