Violence and grief are surging in Israel-Palestine, the land where Jesus lived and taught, was murdered and rose again.
As blood and tears flow, the wisdom and beauty of Jesus’s spiritual practice impresses itself on my humanity once again. Jesus designed this prayer in the fires of his generation’s high-conflict. Today in ours, it glows in the heat and shows us the way of peace.
I find hope in Jesus’s practice:
God is our Parent — equally the Parent of Israelis and Palestinians, of estranged family members and factory workers, of the living and the dead. Of all people and all nonhuman creation. God says to us, “You are my beloved children; I delight in you.”
In the presence of our Father, we are family, not enemies. To open our consciousness to God is to remember that we are we — inseparably connected, equal in value, children of our Father and siblings to one another.
“Hallowed be your name”
We cannot weaponize G-d for any human project or power. God’s name is holy. It is never our tribal tool but a sacred call to radical reverence and humility. Praying with Jesus purifies our speech about God, reminding us that God is intimate yet other and ungraspable by human hands.
“Your kingdom come”
The only kingdom worthy of our desire is our Father’s kingdom, the One whose dream is our mutual flourishing. In this kingdom, the most degraded are precious and lifted up with special dignity. The violent and proud are called to repentance. This kingdom is the heart of our longing for shared dignity and security.
“Give us today our daily bread”
We are hungry, needy, vulnerable creatures — all of us. God sees our fragility and wants us to be fed and to feed one another. The faith that honors our Father sees the hunger of the other and prays with compassion for their fullness.
“Forgive us as we forgive”
Forgiveness is our daily liberation. We revolt against the intoxication of bitterness, resentment, and desire for others to suffer. We humbly own that we make mistakes, and we courageously release the mistakes of others — again and again. We choose not to live in the past but to open ourselves to a new future of shared freedom. We release one another.
“Deliver us from evil”
We premeditate peace in the face of conflict. Yes, temptation is coming and is already upon us. It is distressing, and we want to run away with fear or to explode with aggression. But we interrupt this impulse and welcome God’s presence and peace where it seems impossible. Violence cannot save us; our Father will deliver us from all evil — even through death.
“Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever”
We surrender our lust for power and prestige. This addiction to superiority cannot satisfy or secure us. We are only free when we let go of this to our Father. Saying “Yours” is our way home, back to the beginning of our divine belovedness and back to right relations with one another. Nothing is lost in our Father’s love.
This is the prayer that Jesus gave us as our daily spiritual practice for being human. It’s the prayer that Jesus prayed as he lived, taught, healed, suffered violent execution, and rose to new life. In our time of grief and violence, Jesus invites us to allow his prayer to saturate our consciousness and guide us in the way of peace.
We are we, children of our Father.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can respond to what’s happening in Israel-Palestine, Telos – a peacemaking organization I deeply respect – has three invitations for engagement. Please click here.
Yours in prayer for peace,
If you’d like to learn more about Jesus’s prayer and how to practice it, I warmly invite you to explore my book Flourishing on the Edge of Faith, available at BitterSweet Collective, Amazon, and all major platforms.