A Transformational Take on the Lord’s Prayer

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I’ve spent the last two weeks offline, mostly visiting my wife’s family in India. On February 13th, I had the privilege of sharing briefly at a small church in Kollam, India. I originally planned to talk about Fatherhood in the Lord’s Prayer in turned into a fairly concise summary of the what, where, and how of Transformation. [Read more] for the notes.

“Transformational Christianity” is a new phrase that God appears to be impressing on the hearts of numerous Christian leaders around the world, as a means of integrating and aligning all the activities and ideals of historic Christianity. While this type of usage is rather innovative, the concepts behind it are deeply biblical. A great way of seeing that is through arguably the most familiar scripture of all: The Lord’s Prayer. In particular, it can be a useful tool for understanding the What, Where, and How of Transformation:

What:

Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.

‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.

Just as our human identity (genes and behavior) is instigated by our earthly father, Transformation is the re-definition of our identity by our heavenly Father, which leads in turn to transforming earth to better reflect God’s perfect will (as heaven already does).

Where:

‘Give us this day our daily bread.

‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

This reflects the three areas where transformation needs to take place:
* The Marketplace: where we earn (and buy) our daily bread
* Our selves: where we need God’s forgiveness to become healthy people
* Our relationships: where we need to forgive in order to become healthy communities

How:

‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

[For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’

We don’t need to tell God we shouldn’t fall into temptation; we need to tell ourselves. Transformation is about changing our hearts so we don’t want to be tempted, because we realize that such things don’t make us happy, but rather deliver us into the power of the evil one. Rather than seeking kingdom, power, and glory for ourselves, we need to realize that they only come from God.

While there are countless lessons to be drawn from this ancient prayer, I believe transformation is at least one valid inference. I hope this understanding of God as our new father — transforming us in order to bring His kingdom, power, and glory to our work, selves & relationships — will challenge and inform your hearts every time you see this prayer.

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