Tag Archives: Lord’s Prayer

Have you visited St John’s this week?

“a wave of prayer …”

In our parish of Badshot Lea and Hale, in Surrey, we decided to answer the call to prayer with an art installation, featuring work from artists based in our parish or with a very strong connection to the parish.

From this initial thought, the idea took hold.  “I’ll make scones, it will give a real English summer’s day feel.”  “And jam, we must have lots of jam.”
“What sort of music do you want?  I’m sure the choir would like to sing …”

And so it continued until suddenly we had a full parish event!  We called upon artists aged between 6 and 92 to give their own interpretation of a phrase from the Lord’s Prayer and we have a wonderful, eclectic response.

After some nervous moments … would the art be ready?  Would anyone come?  Finally we opened our doors on Sunday 8 May.  And people came, viewed the exhibition, ate scones and listened to the music.
Here are some of their comments:
“Beautiful installation, thank you for all the work that has gone into this.  Inspiring”
“Great idea, great show – could they stay here?”
“It’s good to be reminded of the Lord’s Prayer at work in our lives.”

St John’s can seem quite a deserted place, but that day, I thought the church itself really came to life, got up and danced for joy.  The power of the Lord’s Prayer at work within our community.

And we are going to do it all again this weekend.

Lesley Shatwell
LLM (in training)

The Lord’s Prayer depicted in art


Booklet by Lesley Shatwell

Cover photo: “Waves, Dunbar” (LS 2010)         “It is impossible to overstate the life-transforming power of the Lord’s Prayer … When we pray it with sincerity and with joy, there is no imagining the new ways in which God can use us to his glory.”

These words are from a letter from the Archbishops of York and Canterbury to all parishes in the Church of England.  Today, they are encouraging us to be part of a great wave of prayer through our country and in response, we have put together this exhibition.

We hope that you will find it thought-provoking and that it will encourage you to think of the Lord’s Prayer in a fresh light.

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place.  When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:


hallowed be your name,

thy kingdom come …”

(Luke 11:1-3)


Original artwork by Beki Blade        Our Father, who art in heaven

The Lord’s Prayer starts with the words, “Our Father …”.  That’s a very personal way of addressing God.  We can’t choose our family, but God has chosen us to be His family.  That’s all of us, not just those people we like.  By praying, “Our Father,” we become part of God’s family.

“We are family – all of us.  We belong in God’s family.  There are no outsiders.  All are insiders.  …  all of us drawn into the divine embrace that excludes no-one – black, yellow, white, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, male, female, young, old, gay, lesbian, so-called straight – yes it IS radical.  All, all, ALL belong” 

(God’s Dream: Sermon delivered by Desmond Tutu at the

Chapel of King’s College, London: Sunday 22 February 2004)

Sometimes, our own memories or feelings towards our earthly dads have an influence on the way we view God.  Is it easy for you to think of God as our Heavenly Father?  If you had to rewrite the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer, how would you start?  Who is it you are addressing?

And, come to that, “Who art in heaven …” where’s heaven?


Original artwork by Lesley Shatwell

If we hallow something, we honour it as holy.

Your name be holy.

In the Bible, God spoke to Moses from a burning bush, a bush which burned with holy fire without consuming the bush.

“God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’  This is my name for ever,  and this my title for all generations.”

Does God have another name, other than just, “God”?

It’s tricky to translate God’s name from its original Old Hebrew YHWH.  It has no vowels, you can’t really speak it.  Old Hebrew was a bit vague on tenses too, so we don’t know quite whether God’s name is “I am who I am” or “I am who I will be” or “I will be that I am” or …?

“Hallowed be Thy name.” A name so holy you can’t speak it.

But we can think it.

And we can use the shorthand version: “God”


Original artwork by Stewart Dakers         Thy kingdom come, thy will be done

“Thy will be done” … That’s Thy will, not my will.  How would things be if we lived always within God’s will?

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be selfevident, that all men are created equal.’”

On 28 August 1963, Martin Luther King shared his dream of God’s kingdom on earth.

Here in Britain, there are plenty of things we take for granted.  We have access to health care – when the NHS was launched in July 1948, it was based on three core principles:

  • that it meets the needs of everyone
  • that it is free at the point of delivery
  • that it is based on clinical need, not ability to pay

Our fragile, God-given world is divided between the haves and the have nots.  Martin Luther King’s dream of equality and the founding principles of the NHS point the way to a better society.

Today, what can we do to hasten God’s kingdom here on earth?


Original artwork by Peter Paterson         On earth as it is in heaven

God’s kingdom is coming.

What will it look like, how will it be?

Will it be paradise?

The Garden of Eden?  The new Jerusalem?

“See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more;

mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3b-4)

That sounds alright doesn’t it?

How can we be better stewards during our time here on earth?


Original artwork by Emily Tarrant

Give us this day our daily bread

Do you find it easy or hard to ask God for the things you need?   What about the things you want?

Do you think it’s okay to pray for material things?   Does this kind of prayer “work”?

How about praying for health?  Happiness?

And if you don’t get what you are asking God for, how does that make you feel?

In Matthew, chapter 4 whilst Jesus is being tempted, he reminds us,

“It is written,

‘One does not live by bread alone,

but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

God knows that we do need food, clean water, somewhere to live … we all need these things.

Some have all they need whilst others are lacking.   How can we share God’s gifts to us?


Original artwork by Rosemary Cook            Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us

“Trespassers will be prosecuted”  When I was little, I remember seeing signs like that in the countryside and strong fences to keep people out.  It seemed odd that the Lord’s Prayer used the word “trespass”.

Other translations of the Bible use words like,

“Forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

or,  “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those    who sin against us.”

Trespasses, debts, sins … or perhaps there is there another word which speaks to you?

Sorry …

Do you find it easy to forgive?

Do you carry the burden of unforgiving with you?

Jesus, bearer of our sins, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world.

Can you believe that you are forgiven?                                                           


Original artwork by Lesley Crawley

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

Temptation lures us away.  Sometimes it can seem harmless and fun, do you remember the advertising campaign for cream cakes, “Naughty, but nice”?

Or perhaps you have some sympathy for Oscar Wilde’s,

“I can resist everything but temptation.”

Temptation, it can sound like fun and sometimes it is, but by its nature it hides things which are bad for us, which can sometimes be dark and sinister.

Temptation, addiction … desperation to have just that one more thing.  These things keep us from being the unique person God has created us to be.

Lord Jesus, reach out your hand to me right now and lead me from all evil

Yea though I walk

through the valley of the shadow of death,  I will feel no evil


Original artwork by Alison Ridgeon

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen.

“For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.”  (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)

Does God’s glory shine in your heart?

Can others see it within you?

Can you see God’s loving kingdom shining within others?

When we pray “For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen” we acknowledge the glorious power of our creator God who welcomes every single one of us as a unique individual within His kingdom.

How amazing!

And we are bold enough to call God, “Our Father …”



If you would like to talk with someone, please contact:  Revd. Alan Crawley or Revd. Lesley Crawley on 01252 820537, reverend.alan@gmail.com revdlesley@gmail.com

Bible Sunday

Bible (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

A man was in a hot air balloon and lost, so he spotted a woman on a golf course below and reduced altitude.

“Hello”, he called, “can you tell me where I am – I promised to meet a friend and I have no idea where I am”

She looked up and said “You are in a hot air balloon about 30 feet off the ground, you are 51 degrees North and 0.7 degrees West”.

“Are you an engineer?” he called down?

“Yes” she replied, “but how did you know?”

“Well your information is absolutely true but I’m none the wiser” he replied. “Furthermore I am still lost and frankly you have wasted my time”.

So she thought for a minute and called up to him “Are you in Management?”

“Yes” he replied “but how do you know?”

“Well, you have made a promise you have no idea how to keep, you expect those beneath you to solve your problems and you have risen to where you are thanks to a large volume of hot air”.


I guess I tell that joke because I want to explore what we mean by the Bible being “True”.

Of course, first of all we have to determine what we mean by “true” in this context.

There is a statue of Abraham Lincoln at one of the American Universities and he is shown wielding an axe about to come down on the fetters that are binding a slave at his feet. It the statue true – yes. Did it actually happen – no.

I get fed up at the moment hearing about the rise of fundamentalism and in particular creationism at the moment. Since when did Christians need to leave their common sense at the door when they came to church?

And then, of course there is the problem of translation. When I was at vicar school I decided to try to learn Hebrew and Greek. Try being the operative word here. Anyway, we looked at some Hebrew texts. It is a rather tricky language for a few reasons, not least of all because they choose not to include vowels in the text. And then they seem to have dots here and there that mean something but get missed off a fair amount – the jots and tittles that Jesus was referring to. And then the language has only two tenses. Not like English which has loads – past, present, future, perfect, imperfect, conditional, and a load of others. No – Hebrew has two. And they aren’t a useful two like Past and Present – they are perfect (ie done and dusted) and imperfect. So we looked at the phrase when God says “I am what I am”. Well… it is in the imperfect. So it could be “I was being what I ought to be” “ I will be what I am being” “I was going to be what I could have been”. Truthfully, I think just about the only translation it can’t be is “I am what I am”.

You probably know that the New Testament was written in Greek and fairly early on that was translated into Latin, and later still the Latin version was translated into English, giving rise to the King James Version, which is quite a literal translation of the text, but carries quite a lot of errors because of the double translation.

Which reminds me of a story that Alan told me from when he attended a church that was debating which Lord’s Prayer to use – the traditional or the modern. One woman said that she wanted to use the traditional Lord’s Prayer which was in the King James Version because she wanted to say the very words that Jesus used.

So there are many translations now – I suggest that everyone should by one that they find easy to read. My personal favourite is the New Revised Standard Version, which is an update on the RSV which is a pretty faithful translation, I feel. My personal least favourite version is the New International Version, which I think has too much interpretation and anti-women interpretation at that.

However, whichever version of the Bible we use, we have to face the fact that it was written by men, for men. I was arguing with a man online a while back about gay relationships. He quoted Leviticus 18:22 at me – “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable”, so I thought about that. “Are you telling me that the Bible requires me to be a Lesbian?” I asked….

And of course you may well notice in the Ten Commandments, especially if you are a woman, that whilst men are not allowed to covet their neighbours’ wives, there is no prohibition on us coveting our neighbours’ husbands. Not that any woman would ever do that, obviously!

I guess, putting aside the problem of who wrote it and why, and putting aside the problem of translation, the question is where one sees the Bible – does God use it in spite of human failings, limitations and errors, or is it exactly as God wishes it to be? Can it be true without it being literally correct, without an actual Noah, or without an actual Adam and Eve, or does it either have to be all true or if not it is not worth reading?

Let me quote a few verses from the Bible and you decide for yourself whether they are true:

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Matthew 11:28-29

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Romans 8:37-39

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 14:27

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Rom 8:28

“All things work to the good of those who love Him”