An ‘I cannot say “Our Father” unless I can …’ note made its way around the net over the past few years, and still continues to do so. I found this prayer strangely unsettling, given that it tells me things that I HAVE to do to pray this beautiful prayer. I took it to my pastor at the time, asking his opinion of it, and he rewrote it from a Lutheran perspective. I’ve first included the version that is being distributed, then included the version that my Pastor (Pastor Popp) wrote.
THE LORD’S PRAYER (from a prayer warrior)
I cannot pray “OUR” if my faith has no room for others and their need.
I cannot pray “FATHER” if I do not demonstrate this relationship to God in my daily living.
I cannot pray “WHO ART IN HEAVEN” if all my interests and pursuits are in earthly things.
I cannot pray “HALLOWED BE THY NAME” if I am not striving for God’s help to be holy.
I cannot pray “THY KINGDOM COME” if I am unwilling to accept God’s rule in my life.
I cannot pray “ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN” unless I am truly ready to give myself to God’s service here and now.
I cannot pray “GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD” without expending honest effort for it, or if I would withhold from my neighbor the bread I receive.
I cannot pray “FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US” if I continue to harbor a grudge against anyone.
I cannot pray “LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION” if I deliberately choose to remain in a situation where I am likely to be tempted.
I cannot pray “DELIVER US FROM EVIL” if I am not prepared to fight with my life and my prayer.
I cannot pray “THINE IS THE KINGDOM” if I am unwilling to obey the King.
I cannot pray “THINE IS THE POWER AND THE GLORY” if I am seeking power for myself and my own glory first.
I cannot pray “FOREVER AND EVER” if I am too anxious about each day’s affairs.
I cannot pray “AMEN” unless I honestly say “Not MY will, but THY will be done.” So let it be.
And, modified from a Lutheran perspective:
THE LORD’S PRAYER by a SINNER
I cannot say OUR if God did not graciously give me the opportunity to pray for both myself and my neighbor.
I cannot say FATHER if God is not loving so I can come to Him as a child comes to a dear father.
I cannot say WHO ART IN HEAVEN if God cannot answer any request I make according to His good and perfect will.
I cannot say HOLLOWED BE THY NAME if God does not give me His holy and precious Word of life. May it be taught to me in all its truth and purity so that I can live my life according to it!
I cannot say THY KINGDOM COME if God does not grant me His grace so that I may believe His holy and precious word of life.
I cannot say THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN if God does not strengthen and keep me firm in His Word and faith until I die.
I cannot say GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD unless I realize that all the support of my life is a gracious gift of God that I can receive with thanksgiving.
I cannot say FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US if God would look upon my sins and on their account deny my prayer. As He forgives may He empower me to sincerely forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against me.
I cannot say LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION unless God guards and keeps me so that the Devil, the world and my sinful flesh does not mislead me into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. I pray for His help that I may overcome them and obtain the victory.
I cannot say DELIVER US FROM EVIL unless God rescues me from every evil of body and soul, possessions and reputation, and finally, when my last hour comes graciously take me from this valley of sorrow to Himself in heaven.
I cannot say THINE IS THE KINGDOM if God were not the King of kings and Lord and lords.
I cannot say THINE IS THE POWER if God were not all-powerful and able to answer my prayer.
I cannot say THINE IS THE GLORY if Christ had not assumed his glory by enduring the cross for my sins.
I cannot say AMEN unless I honestly say, “Lord, I believe. Help me to overcome my lack of faith.
In Christ’s service
Pastor Kevin Popp
Published circa 1988 on my original website, fishers.net