Jesus said, “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
From Mack Knopf
Have you ever said the Lord’s Prayer very fast when you were scared, under your breath? Maybe even out loud if you really needed to and no one else was around? I know I have! I got into this habit when I was a child. I feel that the Lord’s Prayer is the universal, all purpose prayer. If you do it, you are safe from everything. That’s why it has the phrase, “Deliver us from evil.” Once you do that, you are covered by protection, and you can relax to finish out the rest. You’ve also worshiped God, too, so that part’s taken care of too.
But we are not supposed to just say it by rote, by mere repetition. We are supposed to worship with the Lord’s Prayer and to feel the belief as we pray. Maybe everyone else does that. As an adult, mostly I just try now to focus on how I say it aloud in a group. Am I pronouncing all the syllables correctly? Speaking too slow or too fast? I want to be in sync, so I fit in. I also want to work on resonance with my voice, so that I sound good and people can pick me out in the mix.
I am not sure this is the proper state of mind to have, but I figure saying the words is what counts. Probably, God will understand me no matter how I pray it. Probably.