“Our Father”: The Lord’s Prayer for Our Persecutors

by Charles L. Manto

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“As sometimes happens, this new perception of the prayer opens a window of new possibilities…an invitation to new ways of prayer and of action in relation to personal and corporate conflicts. It is a discovery of hidden treasure.”
—Dr. Thomas E. Boomershine, PhD, Founder of Network of Biblical Storytellers International, Professor Emeritus of New Testament and of Christianity and Communications at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

“Chuck Manto has brought together new insights about the Sermon on the Mount that I can use in my own life and with my clients.”
—John Belcher, PhD, MDiv; Professor, pastoral counselor, University of Maryland School of Social Work.

“In a time when civil discourse and religion can be exceedingly divisive, it is so timely that this approach has been brought to our attention. Manto has brought insights in the use of rhetoric in the Sermon on the Mount to reveal the primary conflict management role of the Lord’s Prayer for the crowds – not just the disciples. This is a major contribution to our understanding of the Sermon on the Mount as a whole and the very first word of the Lord’s Prayer, “our” as the Father of “me and the one with whom I am in conflict. This approach in Matthew emphasizes deep listening as opposed to debating is a means to attract new disciples.”
—Nigel M. de S. Cameron, PhD, Former Distinguished Professor of Theology and Culture at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and first Provost of Trinity International University.

“I have found his reflections inspiring and helpful in my own pastoral work and counseling.”
—The Reverend Doctor Stephen P. Verkouw, Senior pastor, Grace Lutheran Church, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

“Scholarly, with convincing originality, Manto studies patterns in the Sermon on the Mount that show how love of enemies is linked rhetorically with the Lord’s Prayer; and how the Sermon is addressed to the crowds to convey Jesus’ intent to make all disciples devoted to peace. Practical, the book offers guiding questions and examples from workshops that demonstrate the Lord’s Prayer as a reconciliation prayer can achieve constructive responses and results.”
—Douglas E. Oakman, PhD, Professor of New Testament at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma Washington, a founding member of the Context Group. He is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

“I believe this will quickly become a seminal teaching tool… an important and effective instructional resource for scholars and teachers. Religious scholars and pastors of all backgrounds and traditions working in conflict resolution and mediation will welcome this significant and new instructional manual.”
—David E. Cassens, MA, MLIS, Dean of Libraries, Pius XII Memorial Library, Saint Louis University.

“Who is ‘our’ in the sentence beginning ‘Our father’?” Chuck asks. The answer entails breaking the artificial bounds of chapter breaks inserted into the original texts of the gospels is simply fascinating. Chuck’s book is mind-altering and ministers to those of us who struggle with our histories and our rage and seek some solace; maybe a paradigm shift will work.”
—William H. (Bill) Dannenmaier, MA, MBA, PM, CEO of BlackBox Migrations, LLC, US Navy Vet.

“This incredible practical study of the Lord’s Prayer for our persecutors shows that the Lord’s Prayer is not meant just for reciting. It is meant for empowering anyone how to love not only their neighbors as themselves but to love those neighbors even when those neighbors are the persecutors or murderers of one’s family or friends
—Rev. Celestin Musekura, PhD, President & CEO, ALARM USA, Founder, ALARM Africa (Rwanda), Website: http://www.alarm-inc.org

See http://www.LordsPrayer.world for Related Resources and Collaboration Opportunities