ITLOTC 7-22-17


(In The Life Of The Church) 

Ordinary Time

Prayer, Pt. 3

For the past couple of months, I’ve been writing a series of posts about prayer.  If you haven’t seen the others, you can find part one here and part two here.  So far, we’ve been thinking through how to pray, and we’ll later turn to why we would pray at all.  Last month, I began talking about what we might learn about prayer from Jesus and the gospels, and this month I’m going to talk specifically about the Lord’s Prayer.

In two of the gospels, there is a moment where the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray. The account of this prayer in Luke is a bit more pared down than Matthew’s, so we’ll talk about the latter.  Let’s start with the text of the prayer itself, here’s how the NRSV translates it:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,

but rescue us from the evil one

Let’s begin by addressing one thing up front: Jesus offers this after having said, “when you pray, pray like this.” That is distinct from “when you pray, these are the words you’re supposed to say.” It offers a structure for us to take up and allow to shape both the way we pray and the way we think about God and our place in the world.

The best way I know how to talk about this is by going one line at a time, so I’m going to do that.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

This prayer starts with an address of God that holds within it two pretty distinct concepts.  The first is one of intimacy.  Rather than appealing to some vague deity in the heavens, Jesus appeals to the Heavenly Parent (Obviously, “Father” is used here, but the broader image this evokes does not seem to beg limiting the span of God’s care and protection of God’s children to paternal roles alone), and is presumably invoking any broad-strokes positive attribute we might ascribe to parents (nurturer, protector, guide, etc.).  With that, we locate ourselves as children of God, which anchors us not only to God on a personal level, but also outside of our individuality into the community of God’s children. 

The second part of this phrase, “hallowed be your name,” is essentially a proclamation that God is holy, which offers an interesting contrast to the opening line that evokes such intimacy.  This is also an acknowledgement of God’s Otherness from us.  

Taken together, this opening is a turning-toward God that carries within it both a sense of trust/intimacy, as well as an acknowledgement that our ability to address God rests upon God’s already having bent low to hear our prayers.

Your kingdom come.

From the opening address, the prayer moves to a petition for God’s kingdom to come.  Pinning down what that means is easier said than done.  For all Jesus’ talk about the Kingdom, he never lays out a clear definition of it, and leaves us instead with parables to chew on for a couple of thousand years.  But it seems safe to say that the Kingdom is synonymous with things being as God has intended—something that is sort of present now through the legacy of Jesus and the work of the Spirit, but is coming fully later.  In the broadest sense, praying for the Kingdom to come is a way of entering into work that God is already doing—it’s orienting ourselves alongside God in God’s work of re-creation.  

Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

This line isn’t entirely separate from the previous—after all, one might imagine that God’s Kingdom has something or other to do with God’s will being done.  To ask that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven is to acknowledge that there is, in fact, evil in the world.  And we need not obscure what this evil is—though there is plenty of evil in the world, we have a good bit of it stored within ourselves.  So, in a way, this functions as a confession.  Though fully submitting ourselves to the will of God is not even necessarily a live option for us (and if it was, how would we know?), we confess that there is a difference between God’s will for the way people relate to God and other people, and the way that we in fact relate to God and other people.  And, of course, it would also be helpful to view this confession more broadly as a petition for God to continue to transform our lives and the world around us. 

Give us this day our daily bread.

This one is pretty one the nose—it’s a petition for God to provide for our needs to live.  And I suppose it’s also a reminder to ourselves that God is our Provider.  If you in a financial situation where your food security is a given, it’s probably difficult to cultivate an urgency for having food every day, such that you find it wrapped into a form prayer offered by Jesus himself.  And because of that, it is probably easy to slip into a tacit feeling of self-sufficiency for providing for your own needs—I know that’s my experience.  If that’s you too, maybe this line offers us an opportunity to reorder our thinking about where our security comes from.  And furthermore, within a culture of consumption, an opportunity to rethink what it is we actually need to live; this is, after all a petition for our daily bread, not our daily feast.

And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

This line takes up one of the more difficult concepts of Jesus’ teaching: that there is some sort of relationship between the way God forgives us and the way that we forgive other people.  The words that Jesus offers us here are presupposing that we are living lives that have been transformed by forgiveness, such that we are in the habit of offering the same sort of radical forgiveness that God offers to us to those who harm us in some way.  So, this is a confession that we deliver with a plea for forgiveness that includes a built-in reminder for us that the way God relates to us has a bearing on how we relate to other people.

And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one

There are some complex implications for this line, depending on what you take it to mean.  Some might read this as acknowledging that God indeed sometimes brings us to the time of trial, or leads us into temptation, on purpose to see what we’re made of.  I don’t know what to do with that.  But I do know what to do with the idea of God guiding us away from the myriad ways we harm ourselves and others, and continually rescuing us from that which would destroy us.  If that is what this line is getting at, this becomes a confession of our tendency to wander, and a plea to God to save us from ourselves. 


So there is a (very) brief rundown of the Lord’s Prayer.  

When you look closely, these lines carry some robust challenges for us to consider day-to-day, but the broader themes of the prayer are helpful in an of themselves for our thinking about the way we pray.

Taken together, Jesus seems to be suggesting that our prayers include language that acknowledges the divine-human relationship, acknowledges that God is on the move in the world (and expresses a desire to be brought into that work), asks God to provide for our needs (and reminds us that it is God who provides for our needs), confesses that we have sinned (and reminds us that we should deal out the same kind of forgiveness that we are asking of God), and asks that God would guide us away from harming ourselves and others.  

Or, perhaps more simply, this prayer offers us a model to speak the truth about God and the truth about ourselves. 

I meant to mention this in an earlier post: while I absolutely think that model prayers (or the Psalms) are able to help teach us to pray, they will only do that if we actively engage them, think about them, pray them, etc.  So, if you care to, print off/screenshot/bookmark the Lord’s Prayer, and find a couple of minutes every day to pray it, and then in a month or two, I’d love to hear if that practice shaped the way you pray at all.

Next month, we'll round out the "how" movement of this walk through thinking about prayer together with some prayer practices that emerged in the history of the Church.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about this, feel free to email

Finance Team Person

UBC is looking for a finance team member.  Our fearless fiscal warrior, Josh McCormick will be bringing his time of serving to a close.  Thanks Josh, for being a champion and sharing your money advice and knowledge.  You helped steer this ship into calmer waters.  As such we are in search of a new finance team person.  If you yourself would like to be considered or you would like to nominate someone, please email  I've included some information from the bylaws below: 

(A) Purpose.  The Finance Team shall exist for the following purposes:

a.     To serve as the primary advisory group for the Leadership Team in all budgetary and financial aspects of the church. 

b.    To oversee, in coordination with the ministerial staff, yearly budgetary processes, working to create a financial ministry plan in alignment with the ethos, mission and values of UBC.

c.     To advise the staff and Leadership Team on any emergency financial matters that may arise with regards to the physical infrastructure of the church building, as well as those matters pertaining to compensation and benefits of personnel.

d.    To assess the current financial status of the church on a monthly basis and advise the staff and Leadership Team on matters concerning changes in planned ministry expenses.

e.    To advise the Human Resources/Staff Support team on all financial matters regarding new and existing personnel, including available resources concerning salaries, salary increases, insurance, taxes, etc.

f.      To advise the church body on all matters relating to stewardship, financial integrity, etc.

(C)  Qualifications.  Finance Team members shall have been an active participant in the life of UBC for at least a year, have received at least a bachelors degree level of education (or roughly an equivalent amount of experience in business or finance,) and have at least a basic understanding of financial reports and budgets.

(E)  Term.  Finance Team members shall serve for a duration lasting up to five years.  All efforts shall be made by the Finance Team to ensure that no more than two members in a given year rotate off of Finance Team due to duration requirements. While they are encouraged to remain the full five years, members may voluntarily remove themselves from their position at any time. 

St. Francis Liturgy

On Wednesday, October 4th, we're having a brief liturgy centered around the life of St. Francis of Assisi (that's his feast day).  We'll gather in the Backside at 5:30.  The life and legacy of St. Francis form a lens that is well-calibrated for ubc to use in our worship and formation, and I hope you can make it.  One part of that liturgy will be a prayer of blessing over the animals in our lives. We are not going to have any animals in the building, but you can bring or email in a photo of an animal you cherish.  If you have any questions or want to send in an animal photo, contact Jamie at

nUBC’ers Luncheon

If you are new to UBC in the last 6 months, we would love to have you stay for lunch after church on October 1st.  This was originally scheduled for after church this Sunday, the 24th, but we were forced change that.  This meeting has been rescheduled for Sunday, October 8th.  We will tell you more about UBC’s history, how you can plug in, and there will be an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have.  There will be a sign-up sheet in the foyer after church, or you can email

Work is Worship

Greeters: Blaylocks 

Coffee Makers: Gerhard Stuebben 

Mug Cleaners:  

Money Counter: Anna T. 


  • Sunday Sermon: Matthew 20:1-16, "5 O'Clock People" 
  • St. Francis Feast Day 10-4 (more info to come)
  • Finance Team Meeting 10-9
  • Parents Night Out 10-13
  • Town Hall 10-15
  • Mclennan County Orphan Care 2: Arrow Child and Family Ministries 10-18
  • SWCC Halloween Festival 10-25
  • Quarterly Leadership Team Meeting 10-29

Do you have an emergency and need to talk to a pastor? 

254 413 2611

Leadership Team

If you have a concern or an idea for UBC that you’d like to share with someone that is not on staff, feel free to contact one of our leadership team members. 

Chair- Emma Wood:

Byron Griffin:

Stan Denman:

Adam Winn:

Bridget Heins:

Sharyl Loeung:

Jon Davis:

Student Position: Samuel Moore:

Student Position: Leah Reed:

UBC Finance Team

Do you have a question about UBC’s financial affairs? Please feel free to contact any of your finance team members.

Josh McCormick:

Hannah Kuhl:  

Justin Pond:

Anna Tilson:

Doug McNamee:


If you have concerns about staff and would like contact our human resources team, please feel free to email any of the following members.

Rob Engblom:

Ross Van Dyke:

Jared Gould:

Rebekah Powell:

Kristen Richardson: