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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thy Will Be Done . . . Praying the Lord’s Prayer

Evelyn Underhill helps us practice the next movement in the Lord’s Prayer with these words:
‘Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.’ We do not know what possibilities, what mysteries, may still be hidden in the unexpressed design. Yet because each step of this descending prayer is a movement of faith, obedience, and love, we bring the Infinite with us as did Christ Himself when He came down from His nights of communion on the mountain to His redemptive work among men. Here, again, the life or prayer follows the path of the Incarnation.

“The Wisdom that came forth from the Mouth of the Most High entered deeply into the common life, and there accomplished His transforming and redeeming work. We too are not to experience eternity and take up our obligations in respect of it in some exalted, other-worldly region; but here and now, right down in that common life which is also dear to God, finding in our homely experience the raw material of sacrifice, turning its humble duties and relationships into prayer.

Be it unto me according to thy Word—here, where I am. Not my will but Thine be done. This is the act of obligation which puts life without condition at God’s disposal; and so transforms and sacramentalizes our experience, and brings the Kingdom in.”

(Abba by Evelyn Underhill, in Treasures from the Spiritual Classics, 1982, Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, PA, third printing , 1996, pages 31-32; a compilation of extracts from Abba, 1940, Longmans Green & Co Ltd).

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