Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Lord's Prayer...Transforming?

A Transforming Vision is a new book by William Edgar and published by Christian Focus, www.christianfocus.com. Edgar describes the Lord’s Prayer as a guide, a model, and a defense of our faith. Dr. Edgar is Professor of Apologetics at Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia, as well as a jazz pianist.

Both catechisms, Heidelberg and Westminster, describe the prayer as having an opening statement followed by six petitions and a concluding statement. The prayer can be used as a way of teaching aspects of the Christian life and it does have that important function. But Edgar says it is more than that. More than a guide, it can be and often is thought of as an apologetic. In other words, it is a way of explaining one’s biblical worldview. Edgar calls it "a unique prayer that offers us a remarkable statement of faith, even as it stands opposed to a confused world." He hopes that as we study the Lord's Prayer, "we will be able to hear it and see it afresh."

But "why pray at all?" he asks, and goes on to explain the setting of the Prayer where Jesus was teaching the disciples how to pray and why and when, in the culture and atmosphere of the first century, in which they lived. The next chapters describe the phrases of the Lord's Prayer and the meanings one can find in each of the six petitions.

Dr. Edgar closes this thought-provoking study of the Lord’s Prayer by reminding us of the concluding words of the prayer: "Thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen." He reminds us that "throughout the Scripture we learn that our God reigns." The Bible is full of affirmations of God’s great power.

Edgar calls the Lord’s Prayer "a transforming vision." It is not just for a worldview that sees the world right side up, but it is a prayer, a way of life that brings transformation. "Prayer is hard," he says. "It does not come easily to fallen creatures. It is a discipline to be practiced." Dr. Edgar calls us to our task: "pray and practice holiness" and "follow God's commandments."

—Lois Sibley