The Lord and His Prayer

When I was writing my latest book, The Red Letter Life: 17 Words from Jesus to Inspire Simple, Practical, Purposeful Living, I probably most enjoyed writing chapter 7, "The Word That Opens Heaven." It focuses on Jesus' words on prayer, and elaborates a bit on the Lord's Prayer. It was amazing to me as I studied and prepared for--and then wrote--that chapter, how rich and deep that short prayer is, and how much we can learn from it. And how much could and should be written about it.

So it is with The Lord and His Prayer, by N. T. Wright. The book is a mere 89 pages long, and yet it is at least as deep as it is long. Wright, the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England and one of the world's foremost theologians today, presents just six chapters that masterfully blend sophisticated theological insights with simple devotional inspiration:

  1. Our Father in Heaven
  2. Thy Kingdom Come
  3. Give Us This Day
  4. Forgive Us Our Trespasses
  5. Deliver Us From Evil
  6. The Power and the Glory

Such familiar phrases. Yet Wright sheds new light on each of them and shows how they are more revolutionary and more life-altering than we--even those of us who pray them regularly, even daily--have ever before understood or experienced.

One of the many things Wright does so expertly is to connect familiar Scripture with other familiar Scripture and, also supplying the historical, cultural, philosophical, and theological context of each, thus uncover deeper layers of meaning. He does it again in this slim volume, showing how the Lord and his prayer reveal "the disgraceful Advent of our astonishing God."

It is a necessary book on prayer, and a beautiful one, too.

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