SPIRITUALITY & RELIGION

Teach Us To Pray: The Lord’s Prayer in the Early Church and Today

Eerdmans. Jun. 2020. 160p. ISBN 9780802877963. pap. $16.99. REL
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Some Christians use the Lord’s Prayer as a regular part of their public worship and private meditation, others not at all—confining it as an outline to prayer. González (A Brief History of Sunday) affirms prayer as a model while advocating for its regular use. First, he provides a brief outline of how the prayer was used in the early Church, citing sources such as the Didache. Most of his time is spent breaking down Matthew’s version of prayer with its invocation, seven petitions, and benediction. González works through various sources (most particularly Tertullian, Origen, Augustine, and Chrysostom), interposing modern scholarship and his own reflections. In doing so, the use of the Lord’s Prayer as a pattern and source for reflection and meditation becomes clear. The author’s use of ancient sources suits the way he minutely breaks down the prayer, as this method was common in ancient commentaries and sermons.
VERDICT An approachable introduction to a most familiar, yet profound biblical passage. The use of ancient material is one of the strengths of González’s exploration, allowing readers to gain a deeper appreciation of this simple prayer.

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