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SoM 17: Two Questions and One


Issue 221

In the end there are only two questions that we all have to answer: how should I live and how should I die? If you can figure out how to answer these questions you have made it. The answer to these two questions, however, can be uncovered by figuring out one deeper question, namely how should I pray? For, if you know how to pray, you will know how to live and how to die.

Thankfully the only person who ever really knew how to live and how to die has told us how to pray. Gift-wrapped in a fifty-two word model prayer set right in the middle of his sermon, Jesus gives us the means to answer our questions. Wrapped up in the words “Our Father” is our sense of identity, worth and security. Our unconditional acceptance, permanent adoption and utter well-being are there. Our sense of worship, intimacy and communion with the Almighty are also  found there. Wrapped up in his name and Kingdom are our life’s work, mission, aims and goals. Our ethics and our behaviour are governed by these powers.

Wrapped up in his will is the shape of our lives, careers and families. Our hopes, dreams and visions are conformed to his overall dream. Wrapped up in “give us today our daily bread” is our regular supply of what is needed (remembering that wrapped up in ‘us’ is the fact that he supplies us corporately so we can share and distribute individually). Wrapped up in “forgive us as we forgive others” is the recipe for psycho-spiritual health and well-being as well as long term life.

Wrapped up in “lead us” is our utter dependence upon his wisdom, protection and forewarning.

It’s how to pray, it’s how to live, it’s how to die – it’s certainly how to work.


Matthew 6:9-13

9″This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11Give us today our daily bread. 12Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

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Geoff Shattock

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