We all know what comes in the verses to follow. Jesus teaches his disciples what we have come to call, "The Lord's Prayer." It is a simply profound way to interact with God, serving as a template for prayer. It models how to approach God, what to ask for, and what the ultimate end of prayer should be - God's will done on earth as it is in heaven.
Numerous scholars and teachers have unpacked it, written about it, and even preached on it. And rightfully so, because it is full of much wisdom to guide and direct us in our Christian journey. Yet, it can also be easily missed that this prayer came in direct response to a plea: Lord teach us to pray.
When we explore the gospels, we see that this is one of the only requests we find recorded by the disciples. They do not ask how to heal, how to reach the lost, how to build the Kingdom or Church. No, they ask how to pray. They know, from watching Jesus, that this is the key for all the rest. They have seen him withdraw in prayer, seen him look to heaven, seen his communion and connection with God each and every day. If they are to lead and do what Jesus did, then they will need to understand and enter into this depth of relationship with God the Father.
And once instructed, they did it. They put it into practice, which undergirded all that they did in ministry with Jesus and through Jesus after he ascended into heaven.
As we are about to embark upon a season of exploration in a journey toward building a healthier and more vibrant church, we too are called to heed their example. There will be much to do, but the most important thing we can do is to seek the Lord in all of it. To ask what his will is on earth for his church, Saint Barnabas. Before, during, and long after we have meetings, implement plans, put together new systems, organize new groups, we are called to pray.
So I humbly ask you to join me in doing that each day. Ask the Lord what His will is for our church, and spend time listening. Write down what you receive. Lift up the teams, your Bishop's Committee, Fr. Ron, and certainly myself. Pray for wisdom, direction, and that God will be glorified and at the center of all that we do. May that become the task we are quickest to undertake as a church.