We had a very good question the other day. From a very lovely lady. Why don't we say the Lord's prayer at Wellfield church?
Well there's a very good answer. We do love the Lord's prayer because it's the words that Jesus taught to his disciples when they asked him how to pray. We had some great teaching at our Wellfield Weekend Away in April 2014 about this very issue from the great friend of Wellfield Church, Jonathan Milton-Thompson. Jesus said (in Matt 6v5-9):
"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like the pagans, for they think 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. This, then, is how you should pray:
"Our Father in Heaven......(etc)".
It's interesting that Jesus teaches "the Lord's prayer" as a "how-to" pray. Not a "what-to" pray. It's all about how you should pray. Not what you should pray. So the teaching of the Lord's prayer is Jesus teaching his disciples, and ultimately us, the sort of things we should be praying for. These are the things that God cares about, Jesus says. these are the sorts of things you should be praying for! For God's name (ie. his reputation) to be honoured among men. For people to do his will. For the Lord Jesus to return. For our daily needs. For forgiveness (and - eek! - the strength to forgive others). And for God to keep us safe from temptation.
We hope, and strive, that all our prayers said together at church (with one person leading us and the rest of us saying "Amen" to show our agreement) are in line with this. We try to make sure this is the way it is for us, as a church. In every situation where people ask for prayer, we will always try and pray the sort of things God has clearly told us are important.
We won't recite the Lord's prayer on a normal Sunday. Although sometimes we might. But it's a bit embarrassing for people who haven't learnt it in childhood to be expected to join in I guess.
We love praying all together at church. Let's keep our prayers in line with what God wants.