The Lord’s Prayer is probably the best known part of the Bible – even by unbelievers of the Christian gospel. But its common use in church liturgy is meaningless if these inspired scriptures are not properly understood. The author of this book believes that if the rich meaning of the Lord’s Prayer is to be appreciated, a new approach is needed so that it regains the place it deserves in our worship.
Gerald Bray is the Director of Research for the Latimer Trust in Cambridge, and Research Professor at Beeson Divinity School, USA. His scholarly and perceptive treatment of the Lord’s Prayer reflects this. As such it differs from other more devotional commentaries, and is accurately described by the subtitle of the book as ‘A systematic theology of the Lord’s Prayer’. This should not be taken to mean that it lacks warmth and meaningful application to life, but that it is serious reading that requires thoughtful consideration. It will appeal more to studious minds than to those who are unaccustomed to disciplined concentration.
The six chapters of the book are based on the six clauses of the prayer and succeed in broadening and deepening an understanding of how the Lord would have us pray and live in a rapidly changing world.
Referring to the possibility that the age of European-dominated Christianity is coming to an end – and that the church of the future will look very different from anything we have known before – the author finds great assurance in the truth expressed in the title of his book. He writes:
‘But whatever happens in the years ahead, one thing remains certain. The kingdom of God will not change. Its power and glory will be as visible then as they are now in the lives of changed men and women … The words of the Lord’s Prayer, and the theology it proclaims, will remain embedded in the hearts and minds of believers long after the current challenges we face have disappeared’.
This quotation is from the final chapter, sadly the shortest one! The author will serve us well if reprints of his book refer more extensively to the majestic statement, ‘For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, for ever. Amen’.
Meanwhile this book will meet an urgent need if it enriches modern worship services and personal engagement with the Lord and his will.
Timothy G. Alford