By Contributor Pastor Eric Blauer
I have made an unsuspected friend in my missional journey of planting a church in the East Central Neighborhood in Spokane. The Lord’s Prayer has become a stable trellis to attach, support and sustain my soul in this ongoing experience.
Word’s that used to seem trite and simplistic have opened up like blooming petals and a fragrance has been released for me, which seemed to only come about through the trials and tribulations of life, work and worship in this neighborhood.
Last week I spent some time down the street where a suspected gang shooting took place, which ended up wounding a young child and young man. In the face of such violence and the complex social-economic-political-moral-spiritual realities behind these type of events, I found refugee and purpose in this prayer.
“Deliver us from evil,” was a phrase that took on newer meaning by the alley where these victims could have died as fear tried to get its grip my heart as I reflected on my own kids, wife and our home down the street.
“Forgive us,” resonated as I thought about all the brokenness and failure of our community and families and the repercussions upon the emerging generations.
“Thy kingdom come,” and “Hallowed be thy name,” became prophetic words of invocation sought to confront and transform the spiritual conflicts taking place in unseen realms in and among the streets and homes I passed.
Over these last six years I have grown quieter and smaller in prayer as I am faced with problems and possibilities that are so much bigger than I am in this part of Spokane. These situations have shaped my spirituality, or should I say whittled it down from the gregarious verbosity type of Charismatic triumphalism I had before to a more monkish contemplative posture. What I use to think represented power in prayer has been altered by the suffering of place and reborn into a form of prayer that is less in content but has a potency unforeseen by me before.
When the noise of police sirens, conflict and cursing, speeding cars and community congestion dominate the atmosphere of neighborhood, I find myself longing to bring simplicity and silence to the battle more than ever before.
Now when I close the Lord’s Prayer with, “Amen (so be it, let it be so),” I find myself exhaling it like Noah releasing the dove, an act of hope and fait with a slight tinge of fear of the unknown world being born, yet, I continue to pray.
Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.