February 08, 2019
When I was in seminary I spent a semester as a student chaplain at a large medical center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As students, we were often on call during the night so I usually slept in the on-call room rather than making the 45 minute drive home. Late one night, I got a call from a nurse on a medical floor saying that a woman who was very sick was asking for a pastor to come and pray with her. When I arrived at the woman’s room, she looked small and frail in the bed. She was not that old, but was very sick, alone and mostly unconscious. She did squeeze my hand when I spoke to her, but didn’t move or open her eyes.
I just sat with her for a while and held her hand. I talked quietly about God’s love for her and then I began to pray. To finish the prayer I began the Lord’s Prayer. Suddenly her mouth began to move and quiet words came from her lips. As I moved closer to her I realized that she was praying the Lord’s Prayer with me. From deep within her the words she learned long ago came as an outpouring to God. In a moment I realized that we were praying together and more than that, we weren’t praying “to” God but that God was there, wrapped in our prayer, present and alive in the ancient Jesus-words. We were praying with God and were blessed by holiness.
Sometimes, I hear people say that praying the Lord’s Prayer is just done by rote and not that meaningful. Then I think about my experience in the hospital that night long ago. There was nothing rote about it. If the woman had not prayed that prayer countless times earlier in her life in worship and perhaps alone, it would not have been available to her in those critical moments.
This Sunday, Feb. 10, we begin a series on Famous Passages and Where to Find Them as part of What the Bible Really Says About…. We begin this Sunday with the Lord’s Prayer.
See you in worship!