We turn again to You.
help us to love,
so that Your Will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us this day
that which we need.
Fill us with hope and trust.
Help us to forgive
our brothers and sisters
(and ourselves as well);
and to look on them
as you look on us.
Give us strength to resist temptation.
When we are tempted, let us choose peace.
Deliver us from our fears.
For what You love is safe.
And Your love remains
forever and always.
Why, you might ask, would we want an alternative version of the Lord's Prayer?
Well, there are a couple of reasons why I felt moved to write this interpretation.
First, no matter how inspired or inspiring words may be, there's a risk that with over-familiarity they may lose their power to stir and transform us. (Think of how moved you feel when you hear an amazing piece of music for the first time. You listen to it over and over again. As the days, weeks and months go by, the intensity of your response to the music may fade. You still like it, but it no longer inspires or affects you to the extent it did when you first heard it.) Adjusting the words may help us to engage with the prayer more deeply again. (To pick up the music analogy again, maybe you discover a fresh new cover of an old favourite song.)
Second, for me, a prayer should be heart-felt. It should be authentic. How can I pray authentically using a set prayer if some of its words confuse me, or if I disagree with them?
In the Lord's Prayer, there are a couple of things I struggle with:
At this time of year, it's traditional for radio stations to count-down the top 10 Christmas carols, or the top 100 hits of all time. In that spirit (and in no particular order) I'd like to share this play-list of hymns, chants, and uplifting contemporary songs with a focus on oneness or universal love.
Bonus track. Here's a piece of piano music (including rain sounds and binaural beats) which I find works well in place of a mantra at the start of a period of meditation. For the last few weeks I've been listening to it for 10-15 minutes a day, and - whatever the science - it certainly seems to put a smile on my face.
Peter Parr: Quaker, writer and former member of the British minigolf team. (Actually those are all just roles I play. Words can't describe who any of us really are.)