BETTING ON THE LORD’S PRAYER

John Cassis is one of our nation’s finest motivational speakers. He told a story recently about a time when he was serving as one of the chaplin’s for the Chicago Bears during their glory years of the 80’s.

As John tells it, Mike Ditka was about to deliver a locker room pep talk one day. He looked up and saw defensive tackle William “Refrigerator” Perry. How could he not see him? At 338 pounds the Fridge stood out even in a crowd of pro football players. Ditka gestured to the Fridge. “When I get finished,” he said, “I’d like you to close with the Lord’s Prayer.” Then the coach began his talk.

Meanwhile, Jim McMahon, the brash and outspoken quarterback, punched John Cassis. “Look at Perry,” McMahon whispered, “he doesn’t know the Lord’s Prayer.”

Sure enough, Perry sat with a look of panic on his face, his head in his hands. He was sweating profusely. “Everybody knows the Lord’s Prayer,” said Cassis to McMahon in disbelief. After a few minutes of watching the Refrigerator leaking several gallons of sweat, McMahon nudged Cassis again. “I’ll bet you 50 bucks Fridge doesn’t know the Lord’s Prayer.”

As Cassis tells the story, he stops to reflect on the absurdity of it all: “Here we were sitting in chapel and betting 50 bucks on the Lord’s Prayer.”

When Coach Ditka finished his pep talk, he asked all the men to remove their caps. Then he nodded at Perry and bowed his head. It was quiet for a few moments before the Fridge spoke in a shaky voice, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord, my soul to keep…”

Cassis felt the tap on his shoulder. It was Jim McMahon. “Here’s the 50 dollars,” he whispered. “I had no idea Perry knew the Lord’s Prayer.”

When I grew up it seemed like everyone knew the Lord’s prayer. Everyone knew the stories of the Biblical heroes like Noah, Abraham and Daniel. It was not uncommon for people of all ages to be able to quote to you all the 10 Commandments or all the books of the Bible. Wow, how things have changed! Now our generation suffers from a kind of faith illiteracy. I honestly believe that there are men, women and children in our “one nation under God,” who have never uttered a prayer in their lives. They are much like the little girl I encountered at our elementary school on career day. I had just finished telling the story of David and Goliath, when she smiled a big grin and said, “That’s not really a true story is it? I’ve never heard that in my life.”

I believe that there is still a need for Bible stories. I believe there is still a need for the Lord’s prayer. And I believe that there is still a need for something as simple as a children’s prayer like, “Now I lay me down to sleep.” All of these things are important because they draw attention to God. We must once again become a people who know God, His book and His will for our lives.

Oh, and just in case you don’t know the Lord’s prayer, you can find it Matthew 6:9-13.

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
11 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Falantedios says:

    I think the true gospel will have greater effect on those who have no biblical literacy than it does on those who think they already know what the Bible is all about. We have a great opportunity for people to hear us like they heard the early apostles.

    Nick

  2. roadtripray says:

    Nick, you have a good point. People once went to church just because it was what was expected as a cultural norm. Now it’s a fresh chance to bring people to worship for the right reason.

    As for the Lord’s prayer, being a methodist, we tend to recite the Lord’s prayer in our worship service as a congregation in each service. It’s a tradition that some who visit are not used to, but I think it’s an important one. I’ve never been to a Church of Christ assembly, do you have some group recitation in your order of worship?

    Some of the other traditional elements that we do often is to recite the apostle’s Creed and sing the Gloria Patri. I have heard there are some people who think poorly of creeds, but I think the apostle’s creed is a good recitation of what Christians believe. It teaches the basic “101” level of Christianity so there is no doubt what is being taught.

    One thing I never got was the importance of learning the book of the Bible in order. Some churches have Bible drills where you’ll be asked to flip to Obadiah, for instance and see who is the first one to get there. I think it’s great if you know where all the books are, because you’ll get that from actually opening your Bible, but you could memorize the order of all the books without having a clue what God is saying inside of them, so I don’t think it’s an end.

    Peace,
    Ray

  3. Neva says:

    I remember when kids were excited to learn about the Lord. My children wanted to learn the books of the Bible and the Lord’s prayer. They wanted to memorize scripture. As they grew, my goal became teaching them how to live it, too. When my son came home for Christmas, we donated blood, we worked at the food bank and we shoveled snow for the shutins. I remember him telling me that when his friends came home from college for the holidays, they went shopping and saw movies or went on trips. He didn’t seem too upset that his holiday was different.
    I believe that learning scripture is very important but living it is even more so.
    Peace
    Neva

  4. tucker says:

    I beg to differ that we get caught up calling that particular section of scripture the Lords prayer. That was just an example of how we are to pray. I think the real Lords prayer came in John before he met his terrible fate. But, hey that is a technicality and I point it out to go along with your point. We worry about all the technicalities and forget that we could all use as Paul put it in Eph.1, the eyes of our hearts to be open.
    I look forward to checking out Mr. Cassis work.

  5. James says:

    Though it is not scripture, I heard an example of the limits of spiritual experience in general. A friend who has been a worship leader at several churches over the years told me recently there was a worship team he was working with where only one member of the team had any idea of the song ‘Amazing Grace’. In the midst of our 80+ % ‘christian’ society, what percentage really know anything of our faith. Yesterday a friend said it was not the ‘Faith of our Fathers’. I think he is right, sad to say.
    Blessings

  6. TREY MORGAN says:

    Nick – I agree and I’ve found it easier to teach those who know very little because they are like a blank page taking everything in.

    Ray – We don’t quote the “Lord’s Prayer” as group. There are some Psalms we’ve used to quote as a group. We have tried to teach our children the books of the Bible just so they could find them easily, but I do think it’s a 1000 times more important that my kids know about God and have a relationship with Him instead of just knowing about him and where the books of the bible are. I’m sure there are many people that can name all the books of the bible, name all the apostles and tell you how old Methuselah was, but don’t know a think about God.

    Hey Mrs. Neva – I love how you celebrated Christmas. :)

    Tucker – There’s not one official prayer, but many good ones. I love Philippians 1:4 and others. I love praying from and through the Psalms of David.

  7. One Observationist says:

    I agree with the comments made about the necessity of emphasizing a personal relationship with God rather than the technicalities. It is true that learning the details of the Gospel is important, but those passages don’t mean a thing unless the personal connection with God is present.

    So, for me personally, the most tragic thing about our churches is that we do not focus on personal spiritual growth enough. The promotion and teaching of a personal growth with God is largely absent or barely mentioned.

    I mean how many sermons have you heard in the CoC during your (general) lifetime that have dealt with the practical Gospel? How often do we learn or teach what it actually means to implement the Christian walk in our lives?

    Maybe a lot of you do that or have been a part of a church that emphasizes the practical Gospel, but I have yet to belong to a church that does. Which means I have a personal responsibility to form that relationship with God and use that relationship in my day-to-day practical life. I’m not saying that the church is responsible for my personal relationship with God, but isn’t it a function of the Church to help all of its members form a closer bond with God/Christ?

    Furthermore, the leadership in our churches, in my experience, do not have much of a clue on how to implement the practical Gospel. And that’s unfortunate. But I’m not really complaining because if I was a church leader I wouldn’t know how to lead the church in a practical Gospel capacity.

    I do know that my relationship with the church has been diminished. I no longer care about our traditions, the format of our services, or any other number of technicalities. They are meaningless to me for the most part. I enjoy my personal relationship with God and I am exceedingly joyful when I can talk to other people about their personal relationship with God. It lifts my heart up when I can talk to other people that have survived disasters because of their belief in God. It is wonderful to be able to talk with people that love the Lord and likewise love everyone around them. Seeing God in the daily lives of other people is one of the most spectacular things I have ever had the opportunity to witness.

    Jeremy

  8. Philip Murphy says:

    Totally unrelated to the other comments…. That’s a Clemson education for you!

    Poor Fridge. I love ’em, hate ’em, and feel bad for ’em. He’s my home town hero (even if he played for the wrong college team), and growing up, all I had to say was, I’m from the Fridge’s hometown.

    He’s a bricklayer these days back in Aiken. He’s probably saying, “Now I lay thee bricks to sleep, I pray the Lord…”

  9. Frank Bellizzi says:

    Biblical illiteracy, even in places like Amarillo, Texas, is a huge problem. It’s threatening to turn Christianity into some sort of American folk religion (e.g, Joel Osteen-ism).

    I’ve known people who couldn’t learn much because they already “knew” what the Bible said. However, I don’t agree that ignorance is necessarily preferable. In Romans, Paul says that Jews had an advantage over Gentiles because they had access to the oracles of God. Something can falsely be called “knowledge.” True knowledge can be abused. But knowledge is better than ignorance.

  10. TREY MORGAN says:

    I think my point from the previous comment was that I have found it easier to teach (convert) people who know very little verses people who are so confused because they’ve been told 50 different things. In the past there have been some that have almost had to be deprogrammed before they could be taught.

    Make sense?

  11. Greg says:

    Trey: Last year, I was conducting a funeral (as the funeral director, not the preacher) for a Catholic family. The priest at the graveside was asked if he would say the 23rd Psalm for the family. His reply: “I’ve heard about that psalm before, but I don’t know what it says.” Of course, he didn’t have a Bible because they don’t use Bibles in their funeral masses / graveside rituals. I was embarrassed for the priest and for the family.

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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