Reviewed by Chris Porter.
The Lord’s Prayer, or Our Father, has to be one of the most well-known pieces of Christian scripture, read as it is in public occasions, openings of parliament, and throughout our media. Its familiarity has brought great benefit to many praying it, and comfort in times of trial. But how often do we reflect on its meaning? This new book from Wesley Hill is part of a series from Lexham Press on the Christian Essentials and seeks to explore the Lord’s Prayer for the seeker and saint alike. Dividing up the prayer into the basic clauses, Wesley reads and reflects on each in conversation with the long Christian tradition, highlighting how the prayer has been used in the past and reflecting on its significance for today. Wesley Hill’s reflections are well written and draw the reader into a conversation from Augustine and Barth to Thielicke and Williams, and a host of the faithful in between. These reflections aren’t just an academic exercise in information retrieval or knowledge building, but rather an engagement in robust Christian identity formation and discipleship. In the end one finds themselves praying the Prayer along with a community of the faithful as they work through the book. True to this direction the book is not merely a description of the Lord’s Prayer, but also how Hill himself prays the Lord’s Prayer. To this end a postscript is included that draws the reader into Wesley’s own devotional practice with the Prayer and the Prodigal Son in order to model a pattern of prayer for believers and sceptics alike. The book is beautifully produced by Lexham and contains several pieces of art that are themselves worthy of reflection. While I wish this book could be longer than 103 pages, the reflections in it will sustain faithful meditation for a long time. Indeed, as Wesley Hill closes: ‘To prayer the Our Father … with Jesus’ Father in view is to find yourself praying it in a way you hope never to stop.’ (101) I highly recommend this book.