(Leon Youngblood lives in Texas but says his heart is in LeFlore County, where he owns land and plans to move in a few years. His stories are a mixture of fiction and non-fiction involving people and events in and around Briar Circle, a community in the Ouachita mountains in Leflore County. The names are changed to protect the innocent and guilty alike, and to prevent my reputation from being soiled by associating with some of them. His column appears on Wednesday. He can be contacted by email at [email protected])
By LEON YOUNGBLOOD
It isn’t necessary to relate most of the particulars of the following – the “who, where and when” – but of course, the “what” is essential. This is a version of the Lord’s Prayer. It was humbly offered by the petitioner at the end of a devotional service attended by a mixed group of people. It seems enough to let it stand on its own:
“Our Father, Abba, our Loving Dad in Heaven, Holy is Your Name. We pray, let us not confuse Your wonderful Holiness with arrogance, or aloofness, or ever be intimidated by it. We pray to be strengthened by it. We pray to recognize the magnitude of Your Holiness, and it’s Glory, and grow in our appreciation of it. Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name!
“We pray that Your Kingdom come, that Your Will be done, by every man, woman and child, on earth, as it is in Heaven. And, Father, begin with me and begin with us. Our actions will reveal our sincerity. But, Father, we trust only in Your Grace, and nothing we do. Your Kingdom come; Your Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
“Father, give us each day our daily bread. And let us realize, each day, that You provide it.
“Forgive us our debts, our trespasses and our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Father, as we realize the horrible depths of our sinfulness, and the magnitude of Christ’s Love, that He died for our salvation – may we also forgive and pray for the redemption of those who sin against us, led by Your example to us.
“Our Father, lead us away from temptation and into ways of Righteousness, Mercy and Love. Deliver us from evil – especially from doing evil. And deliver us from the evil one, that we not become his pawns or servants, or fall into his traps. For, Father, we know that Your’s is the Kingdom; and Your’s is the Power; and Your’s is the Glory! May we claim no Kingdom but Heaven, no King but Jesus, forever and forever! And it is in Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.”
With this, the meeting was dismissed, and the response was positive. I don’t know the impact the closing prayer ultimately had upon the assembled, or the impact it will have upon the reader. But as for me, after hearing it offered this way, I’ve heard and read the Lord’s Prayer with a deeper appreciation ever since.
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