Maybe you’ve heard of the Amplified version of the Bible. It’s a version where the meaning of each word is expanded in its context to aid in understanding – although it does make it a little difficult to listen to when it’s being read out loud 😉
Well, here’s a great version of what some call ‘The Lord’s Prayer’, ‘amplified’ in similar fashion by the superb Nadia Bolz-Weber:
Our Father, Our Mother, Our Holy Parent, The Source of All Being from whom we came and to whom we return, You who knows us better than we know ourselves. Jesus called you Abba and so shall we, even as we may have an ambiguous relationship with parenthood – Be to us our Holy Parent, the one who loves without condition.
Who art in heaven… Our Father who art in everything. Our Father who art in orphanages and neonatal units, and jail cells and luxury high-rises, who art in law offices and adult book stores, and in rooms alone with suicidal people. Our Father who art in the halls of Congress and the halls of tenements.
Hallowed be thy name. Holy is your name. Ever since the beginning we have attributed our own sin and ego and wishful thinking and greed and malice and racism and ambition and manipulations of others to you and to your name – and yet your name remains holy. We print “In God we trust” on the US dollar and then worship that dollar and the power that dollar brings us, and yet still, your name remains holy.
Thy kingdom come… God, right now we beg you to bring more than just a small measure of heaven to earth because, if you haven’t noticed, we are in the middle of a global pandemic and millions are sick and dying, not to mention, the Earth is on fire. It’s a mess down here Lord, so we need your Kingdom to speed the hell up. We need wise leaders, and just systems and an extra dose of compassion for all of us.
Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Thy will and not ours be done. Forgive us when we use prayer as a self-help technique by which we can get all the cash and prizes we want out of your divine vending machine if we just kind of bug you to death through ceaseless prayer, because when it comes down to it, we know better. You are our Father whose name is holy and whose love is boundless and who wants, as our holy Parent, to hear our prayers.
Give us today our daily bread. Give us today our daily bread, our daily naan, our daily tortillas, our daily rice. Lord, give us real bread, even when we keep reaching for those literal and metaphorical Krispy Kremes. Give us the gift of enough-ness. May our response to perceived scarcity always be increased generosity for we are your children and from you we receive everything. Give us today our desire for the neighbor to be fed. Give us today a desire for a good that is held in common.
And forgive us our sins. As we forgive those who sin against us. Forgive us when we hate what you love. Forgive us when we would rather anesthetize ourselves than feel anything. Forgive us for how much we resent in others the same things we hate in ourselves Forgive us for the terrible things we think about our own bodies, bodies you have made in your image. Forgive us for thinking we know the hearts of our enemies.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Deliver us from the inclination that we too do not have evil in our hearts. Deliver us from religious and national exceptionalism. Deliver us from addiction and depression. Deliver us from self-loathing. Deliver us from self- righteousness. Deliver us from high fructose corn syrup. Deliver us from a complete lack of imagination about where you are in our lives and how you might already be showing up. Deliver us from complacency. Deliver us from Complicity.
As Jesus taught us, we are throwing this bag of prayers at your door. We are not asking nicely, Lord. We are your children and we are claiming your promises as our own today. Some of us are holding your feet to the fire, some of us don’t know if we believe in you, some of us are distracted and just going through the motions, some are desperately in love with you….but all of us are your children. Use these prayers to hammer us all into vessels that can accept the answer when it comes. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever.
And the children of God say, AMEN.
– Nadia Bolz-Weber