Why I wrote
Teach Us To Pray
Every fall I sit down and plan out my sermon series for the following year. I had a 5-week space left in the summer of 2020. I decided to do a series on the Lord's Prayer. As I delved into the work on preaching this series, something happened - I was drawn in totally and completely by what Jesus laid out for his disciples as a model of prayer.
I had been reciting this prayer my ENTIRE life, but suddenly it jumped off the page and into my soul as if I encountered it newly. What Jesus put forth as a way to pray was radical. It upended tradition. It required soul-searching, life-changing action. It afflicted my comfortable sensibilities.
What I learned from engaging this ancient prayer model changed me - and how I live my faith.
*Praying is not passive.
*Opens a path for spiritual and emotional growth
*Provides mechanisms for reconciliation
*Catalyzes the work of justice.
Living into these practices has revitalized my faith.
*God is so much BIGGER and CLOSER than ever before
*I feel empowered to step out in faith and feel those steps - tiny and tentative as they are - magnified and directed by a SOURCE so much wiser, powerful, courageous, gracious, and loving than I had known.
I want this for you, too!
This book is a great resource for individuals and for groups. Each chapter contains questions for further study and conversation.
Study Questions Included!
What others are saying...
"Refreshing! ...to those who need a fresh look at what they have been praying for years, she opens the possibility of new insight, learning and deepening. Phrase by phrase, we are invited to hear and see what we have been praying---and what that might mean for the life of our world." -Rev. Dr. Teresa Dulyea-Parker, Regional Minister and President CCIW
"In The Lord’s Prayer: An Old Model for a Modern Day, Melissa Ebken, a seminary-trained pastor at a Christian church in Central Illinois, has given us a modern-day primer for prayer based on both biblical scholarship and her own personal experiences with faith and prayer. Beginning with her earliest experiences with prayer, Ebken takes us on a journey that spans the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and her years of experience in ministry. Throughout the book, Ebken displays a seasoned pastor’s knack for making difficult theological concepts accessible to laypeople...But what I most admired and appreciated about this book was the author’s ability to relate these lessons without judgement or condescension...Instead of scolding the reader for selfish prayer habits or morally questionable behavior, she points to scripture and her own personal experiences to identify opportunities for greater spiritual fulfillment through prayer and faith." -Mike Warren, Entrepreneur
About the Author
Melissa was called into ministry, much to her surprise, after becoming a biologist and serving for ten years in the IL Army National Guard as a utility helicopter mechanic, the first woman to do so.
Having lived in the Midwest, Melissa has a deep appreciation for farmers and the lessons of the Gospel dramatized by the sowing, tending, and harvesting year after year.
“God’s glory and God’s story are all around us if we take the time to see. Lessons of life and death, struggle and celebration, heartbreak and harvest - life always wins.”
Melissa’s passion in ministry is to live and worship alongside the people who live and work in rural communities. She has served the Illiopolis Christian Church (DOC) since July 2, 2001. January 1, 2012 Melissa began serving both Illiopolis and Niantic Christian Churches (DOC) and continues in ministry there today.
Melissa is at home in the difficult spaces of peoples’ lives, willing to listen and to walk with those who struggle and suffer. She is a trained coach and has consulted with churches in conflict. Not your stereotypical minister, Melissa embraces the Gospel with joy and laughter as she seeks to help those around her grow in faith and understanding, always striving to leave people better than they came. An agent of wholeness, Melissa works to invite others into a space where they can understand how ridiculously loved and valued they are by a God who closer and bigger than we can begin to imagine.