My own take on golf is expressed in the statement: “It’s a terrible way to ruin a good walk.” But my brother-in-law tells me that when he gets on the golf course and takes his first swing, he forgets all his worries and troubles.
Maybe that is what prayer can be.
With the first nudge of the Holy Spirit, we can let everything else go. We are now in the limitless presence of the Trinity. Nothing else matters. We can now have fun with God. A golf course may give the feel of wide-open spaces. But in prayer the sky is not the limit. We can walk with God, walk in God, walk in the joy of God’s presence. It’s not the only way to pray, but it is a refreshing experience.
Perhaps we can see the Lord’s Prayer along these lines. As we address Our Father in heaven, we might see the “in heaven” as a contrast with our earthly parents. But the “in heaven” can also take us into that limitless “space” where God dwells. Here God’s name is hallowed, here we get a foretaste of his eternal kingdom, here we experience God’s desire to save us and take us into the very life of God.
But just as the golf course has its sand traps and other hazards, so do our lives.
The Lord’s Prayer then faces the difficulties of life on earth. “Give us this day our daily bread” begs God for all the necessities of life: bread, clothing, shelter for ourselves and everyone. “Forgive us our trespasses” is a plea that we and all sinners be forgiven. “As we forgive those who trespass against us” is a challenge to allow God’s forgiveness of ourselves to flow through us into the lives of those who have offended us. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” is an admission that we are weak and need God’s help to remain faithful.
My brother-in-law has taught me something, but I still don’t think I’ll take up golf.
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