'Meeting Point' Magazine
A Pattern for Prayer
In this letter I’d like to focus on a pattern for our prayers as we continue in the season of Lent. In order to do that let’s look at the most famous prayer in the world – the Lord’s Prayer. I will focus on the first section of the prayer for this month’s Meeting Point and pick up the second section next month. The Lord’s Prayer as we know it today has been repeated in churches for many a century. In fact, there is a church manual called the Didache (also called ‘The Teaching of the Apostles’ or ‘The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles’) from either the late first or early second century, commanding Christians that the prayer be repeated three times a day. One can see why such a beautiful prayer was adopted by Christians to be repeated – at the very least, it was from the very mouth of Jesus. However, it was intended to be more of a pattern for prayer to shape the prayer-life of the disciple than to be a recitation. In the sermon on the mount found in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus first taught how not pray (Matt 6:5-8)and continued from there (verses9-13) on how to do it the right way.
As I suggested at the beginning, if we divide the Lord’s Prayer into two sections, the first section concentrates on things focusing on God; the second section focuses on the person who prays and on humanity.
At the very start, the prayer reminds disciples that all prayer is grounded in a relationship to God as Father (I wrote about that in the last letter). This “our father”, as opposed to the father on earth, is transcendent in power and distinctly sovereign over all that is seen and unseen. Intimacy must always be properly balanced with a sense of reverential awe.
Jesus taught that when we come to pray, our whole concentration is not just about ourselves. We are reminded that we are a part of God’s world and that our prayer pattern must take into account his ultimate purposes for the world. The pattern begins with us praying for God’s name to be hallowed. God is holy, majestic, glorious and all powerful, all knowing, ever-present, eternal and perfect, therefore he must be treated that way. The word “name” refers to God’s character and authority. All that God stands for should be treated as holy and honoured because of his utter perfection and goodness. It is also a form of adoration in which we ask God to act in such a way to show his presence in the world, bringing about a renewed sense of reverence and awe for himself in his world, and among his people – the Church. When we pray “your will be done” and “your kingdom come” we are asking God to bring about his vision and plan for his world to reality in the whole world – not just in the Church. Nothing less than the full realisation and experience of all that God purposes for his world. In a way it is a political statement. We know the current world as we know it is manifest with the effects of evil. However, our prayer is that when God’s will be fully established in the world, the present evil order will be completely and utterly vanquished. We are in fact praying for a new reality under God’s rule. What is amazing is that, in comparison to the whole world, as insignificant as we are, Jesus gives his disciples(us) the privilege of participating in God’s plan. I can’t believe it: we play a vital part in the accomplishment of God’s purpose in the world. Jesus is simply saying that God is God and all that all-being entails, yet you must pray for him to act (God can act without any of us praying but he has chosen to include us). For God’s purposes to be realised in the world we are considered his instruments, through which God can work and manifest his presence. So, when you pray follow Jesus’ pattern and start by focusing on who God is! We may have hundreds of needs and wishes when we come to prayer but Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer taught his disciples(us) first to adore God and pray for his purposes.
News from Totternhoe Academy
Our Mission Statement
We, at Totternhoe CE Academy, strive for excellence in education by providing a safe, secure, caring family environment, where all are valued and respected as individuals, enabling them to reach their full potential, whilst growing in their love and understanding of the Christian Faith.
Our Value this half term is Forgiveness. We can show forgiveness by:
- Saying sorry
- Not holding a grudge
- Offering a new beginning
We were, once again, able to remain open during the short burst of snow we had before the half term holiday. The children had a wonderful time building snowmen and igloos.
We have celebrated World Book Day, dressing as different book characters. All the children looked fantastic, and much effort had gone into a number of home-made costumes. Staff dressed up as characters from the popular David Walliams books. Children shared their books with their house buddies, and then took part in a story-time with their class teachers.
In a previous week we were thrilled to welcome Susie Davids, a local author, who came to share her books with each class. There were some very interesting, thoughtful questions posed by our children. Perhaps some will have been inspired to become authors!
We are very excited about our first whole school Totternhoe’s Got Talent! Auditions take place in the week beginning 18th March, and we are surely in for a treat. More news in the next issue!
Year 2 are enjoying their music lessons and will be showcasing their music learning with parents in the near future. Parents/carers are welcomed to ‘Watch Me Learn’s on a regular basis, enabling them to see and take part in learning opportunities with their children. The March session has a Science focus (Music for Year 2).
Parent consultations have taken place across the school with opportunities to view children’s books across the curriculum, and to discuss progress with teachers.
Our value ‘Forgiveness’ links well with our RE teaching about what Easter means for Christians, as we are now in Lent, the lead up to Easter. We shall, of course, be celebrating Easter early in school, with our Daffodil service and Community tea party on Tuesday 2nd April.
For further information about the school and to keep up to date with what’s going on, please have a look at our website:
If you are interested in having a closer association with the school as it continues on its journey as part of the Diocese of St Albans Multi-Academy Trust, we would very much like to hear from you! We currently have vacancies for Academy Council members (formerly ‘Governors’) with a keen interest in supporting the work of the school and championing its cause in the community. Please do get in touch if this is an area that interests you.
D Mitchelmore/O Bates