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.
Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;
for Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory
forever and ever.
As I’ve been praying the Lord’s Prayer each day, I dedicate the day and my point of view, my motives and concerns to be filtered through this timeless prayer Jesus taught us to recite often. I remember that I do not pray alone, rather I join with the countless lovers of Jesus around the globe, lips moving in chorus with mine as we pray together—allowing these words of Jesus to form our thoughts, hopes, and desires.
Praying these lines reset my sight.
The prayer is a culmination of the psalms; a leveler of our pride and self-seeking purposes. It is a daily reminder of who God is and who we are. It is a daily petition of humility and declaration – prayed throughout the day and night as a check on our spirits lest we be tempted to believe again that we are the answer; that it is we who hold the world in place; that this call on our life is somehow superior to every other; or even that our tasks, tastes, addictions, compulsions, visions, goals, and yes, even our debts…are lord of all.
I don’t always stick to the classic King James Version, rather I find different expressions [link] as I awaken to, lean in, or buckle under my daily need for forgiveness and new sight.
I pray what feels most necessary in that moment:
- “Erase our debts, as we erase the debts of others.”
- “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive our trespassers.”
- “Pardon our betrayals, as we set free our betrayers.”
And today, “Absolve us our abandonments, as we cancel our anger toward those who have abandoned us.”
Today my husband, James, came home and with tears in his eyes told me about the mom of one of his students who up to this point had refused to do homework with her son. “I don’t do homework,” she said without a hint of remorse at parent teacher conference. A few days later she told her eight year old that she didn’t want to be his mom any more and that he was gonna have to go live with Auntie…only problem was, Auntie got right up in his face and the little guy that she “flat out” didn’t want him either.
I cried too. I know what it feels like not to be chosen. No explanation. No emotion.
In a very real sense abandonment is a debt that can never be paid. To the child who is orphaned, who is left, who is unchosen, pushed away, forgotten—especially by a parent—learning to attach again is a devastating, relentless guessing game. He or she is left with a debt that can only ever be paid by some one Other, bigger, than adults in this, broken, f’d up world. We need Perfect Parent Love. Holy. Powerful.
We need this Other, Perfect Love be claim us, to take us in, to forgive and erase, because in no time at all, we too have abandoned.
I no sooner cry out for my own soul, I am caught in a long and painful pause. I have abandoned.
“Forgive us our abandonments.” How many times have I been so swept up in my own agenda that I have missed precious interactions with my own children, and little ones in our local community, in our global community?
“Forgive us our abandonments.” How many times, O God, have I traded or placed value on or chosen fleeting success. How many times have I deemed myself and my “work” as more important?
“Forgive us our abandonments.” I have abandoned…
- for lack of listening.
- for lack of care.
- For lack of having my spirit roused to the needs of others,
- for having protected my own broken soul. Feeling unhealed and needy.
Forgive me now, O God, so I can be free to forgive, and then to love.
For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory forever and ever!
You never leave us or forget us.
Your lovingkindness is ever lasting.