The Lord and His Prayer (Wright)

This book *is* NT Wright in every sense of the word. And it also seems to be every NT Wright book. For Wright, the so-called Lord’s Prayer is not an updated spirituality to help you be more pious or something. It is Jesus. It is signing on to what Jesus is all about.

Wright gives a lucid summary of every clause in the prayer. In short, when we call God “Father” we are placing ourselves in Israel’s salvation-history (Ex. 4.22-23; 2 Sam. 7:14; Isaiah 55:3). It is saying “The Kingdom of God” (Wright 20).

When we ask for his kingdom to come, we are pointing to the New Exodus (Is. 52:7). Yahweh is returning to his people. His section on “thy will be done” has some great pointers on the physical aspect of prayer, as praying for our daily bread anchors the prayer in practical matters. Some advice:
(1) This clause helps us minimize stream-of-consciousness style praying
(2) We should pray for specific needs.
(3) Yet, we should also lift our eyes beyond our needs.
(4) All aspects of the Lord’s Prayer come together in the Eucharist.

In some ways his most important section is on forgiving tresspasses and debts. It’s not that our refusal to forgive places a metaphysical block in front of God, but rather we are removing ourselves from the Kingdom plan. In refusing to forgive we are saying the Kingdom really hasn’t come for us.

The section on debts shouldn’t be surprising: Jesus is the Jubilee (Luke 4). The World Bank is the negation of that.

While many of Wright’s smaller books aren’t as good as his other ones, this one is. He brings it home on every level.


About J. B. Aitken

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, Reformed Scholasticism, Medievalism, Substance Metaphysics
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