Today is Tuesday the 11th of March, in the first week of Lent.

The Kiev Chamber Choir sing The Lord’s prayer. Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Matthew.

Prayer is a mystery. I’ve often heard people saying, with a sneer, ‘It doesn’t go beyond the ceiling, you know.’ But the point of prayer, at least the way Jesus saw it, is that it doesn’t have to. Your father, he says, is there in the secret place with you. He sees and knows your deepest thoughts and hopes and fears. He hears the words you say. He hears, too, the things you can’t put into words but want to lay before him anyway. Have you ever thought about Prayer like this? What feelings does it evoke in you?

How difficult or easy do I find it to make time and space to pray? To pray,  is to claim – think about it and realize just how daring this is! – that the living God, enthroned in heaven, can make His home with you, within you. Sit with this for a few moments.

All of us have been hurt, wounded, slighted, annoyed by other people. But as you listen again, remember how much more have we ourselves done that to God! Yet we want him to be with us, to hear us, and – yes! – to forgive us. How can we not be forgivers too?

At the very heart of Jesus’ vision of the kingdom – of heaven’s kingdom coming on earth – we have a picture of one person, secretly in their own room, praying. The mystery of prayer. This prayer lies at the very centre of the ‘sermon on the mount’. Can I make it the centre of my life? My own kingdom-obedience?

Lord, teach us to pray; teach us to forgive; make us your people. Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory.