The Lord’s prayer: more words in my head than ever I’d say

January 20, 2016

Buddha head 

Our Father, who is in heaven

Our God and source of all things,
to whom we all belong as dearly loved family,

Hallowed be your name

May your name be known by all the world
in all its mind smashing fullness and wonder
larger than our hearts and thoughts can contain,
yet overflowing with truth and reality.

Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven

We wait eagerly for you to come
with new heaven and new earth and new creation.
We long for all things on earth fall into line with your good ways
your principles of truth, justice, faithfulness, compassion,
your abundant life with nothing lacking and nothing wasted.

Give us today our daily bread

Give to all in this present moment
fresh supplies of life-sustaining grace,
according to their need.

And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us

Forgive us, set us right, eye to eye and heart to heart with you
and overflowing with forgiveness for each other,
our neighbours and our enemies.
We wouldn’t dare hold back from
giving each other a clean slate and second chances
when you hold out open arms of forgiveness to us!

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

Steer us away from all the sources and suggestions of temptation
and keep us from wickedness – may evil never seem appealing to us.
Stop us from doing any evil to others,
and keep us out of the way of the evil plans and paths of others.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours – now and forever – Amen.

Everything about you, God,
is good and trustworthy, dependable and magnificent
and your love never gives out, never gives in, never gives up
ever, ever, ever.


I know I write a lot of words. I write many many more words than ever make it to an article, blog, or post or a comment. And then, the words I write are only a smidgeon of what happens in my head. And of course I am only willing to say out loud the tiniest portion of that smidgeon. Mostly I can’t say a thing, if at some point I haven’t written it down before. Nearly all the words I have to say out loud must have been well rehearsed and reworked many times before.

And even then, I mess them up a lot.  And if I caught off guard and have to wing it off script…hmm 

I don’t think I am too unusual in this regard. There are people who don’t know what they think until it comes out of their mouth (bless them), but for many of the rest of us there is and abundance of internal phrasing for an economy of vocalised syllables. 

The Lord’s prayer is a bargain basement prayer of around 60 words, depending on your source, your precision, your memory, your tradition…but when we pray it, there can be thousands of other words, prayers, cries that rattle behind our eyes, or echo deep in our chests, or spark in backs of our necks.

Above are some of mine. This fabulous setting in Swahili Baba Yetu  by Christopher Tin offer some others -wonderfully unfettered from the familiarity of the english phrases and  enlivened by many timbres.  What are some of yours?

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