I take great joy in knowing that my children know the Lord's Prayer as well as the Apostle's Creed. I sat with my daughter, who is 12, at church this Sunday and it was nice to hear her voice repeating the prayer that has guided the church for two thousand years.
A long time ago, I learned the Lord's Prayer in Old English as part of some course work. It drove home to me the fact that this prayer is older than one of the dominant world languages, and it will survive longer than this language.
Prayers that we learn, memorize and have infused into us are valuable. There was a time when the Bible, Wordsworth and Shakespeare were the most quoted sources in Western culture. Now it's far more likely to be a pop star, a beer commercial or an action movie.
I'm lazy. I don't take time to pray, I don't devote myself fully like I should. Maybe it's because of my laziness that I see the value in such things. This morning I went to the Divine Hours site and as is usually the case, the morning prayer was this:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
I love this prayer. It's a regular in the Divine Hours, and I have prayed it with friends who are near and far. I've prayed it in church and in Sunday School. I don't have it memorized. I don't intend to work at memorizing it. I hope it will be infused in me through the work of the Holy Spirit.