When You Pray

Daily Bible reflections for Lent and Easter on the Lord's Prayer

Joanna Collicutt

Currently out of print £7.99


'This book arises from my increasing awareness that the Lord's Prayer contains all that Christians really need to know; it is the very essence of the Gospel... My prayer is that you will have a sense of the great privilege that has been granted to us of holding a precious gem in our hands, of being able to delight in its radiance, play with its many facets, plumb its depths, gain a sense of peace and security from its touch, and in so doing deepen our awareness of our union with Christ.'

In these Bible readings for Lent and Easter, Joanna Collicutt shows how growing as a Christian is rooted in the prayer Jesus gave us. As we pray the Lord's Prayer, we express our relationship with God, absorb gospel values and are also motivated to live them out. As we pray to the Father, in union with the Son, through the power of the Spirit, so we begin to take on the character of Christ. The Holy Week readings encourage us to pause, watch and wait at this special season; commentary is kept to a minimum and we spend time reflecting, in the light of the Lord's Prayer, on Luke's description of Christ's passion and resurrection.

Includes questions for group discussion which can form the basis of a group study through the weeks of Lent.


  • Ash Wednesday to Saturday: When you pray
  • Week 1: Father
  • Week 2: May your name be held holy
  • Week 3: Your kingdom come
  • Week 4: Give us each day our daily bread
  • Week 5: And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us
  • Holy Week: And do not put us to the test
  • Easter Day: Remember how he told you
  • Group discussion material

From the Introduction:

'In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ let us pray to the Father.'

This book is a series of Bible readings for Lent and Holy Week based on the Lord's Prayer as it is given us in Luke's Gospel. It arises from my increasing awareness in recent years that the Lord's Prayer contains all that Christians really need to know; it is the very essence of the gospel. This understanding of the Lord's Prayer is not at all new. It was the practice of the early church to prepare candidates for baptism during Lent by teaching them the Lord's Prayer and using it as the basis for instruction in the faith, sometimes supported by the creeds. In a society where most could not read or did not have access to a Bible, and before the final canon of the New Testament had even been agreed, where disputes about heresies raged, the Lord's Prayer could be held on to as the gift of Christ himself and a distillation of all that the Church understood him to be. Well into the Middle Ages, the Lord's Prayer remained a central framework for preaching and formed the basis of expressions of popular piety, such as mystery plays.

It was wise of those very early Christians to use a prayer rather than a set of statements to prepare people for a life of faith, for faith is not our beliefs about God; it is, rather, the relationship of trust with God that we live out. Learning how to be a Christian is not about academic study in the way we usually understand it. It is fundamentally about prayer, from which the rest of life, including study, flows. This means that, while the Lord's Prayer could be used as a kind of ancient Alpha course manual, there is a lot more to it than that. Praying the Lord's Prayer is an expression of and vehicle for our relationship with God. It enables us to imbibe gospel values and motivates us to live them out.

Yet recently I have come to recognise that there is yet more to the Lord's Prayer...

Joanna Collicut introduces When You Pray

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Author info

The Revd Dr Joanna Collicutt is Lecturer in Psychology and Spirituality at Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford Diocesan Advisor for the Spiritual Care of Older People, and also ministers in a parish. Her other books include Jesus and the Gospel Women, The Dawkins Delusion? (with Alister McGrath) and Meeting Jesus (with Jeremy Duff).


To spend the whole of Lent with just one prayer, and that the shorter of the two versions of the Lord's Prayer may seem to be small beer. Joanna Collicut, however, turns these few words into a large feast.

Nibbling away each week at each phrase - prayer, Father, hallowing, kingdom, bread, forgiving and trial - she uses each phrase as a gemstone and turns its various facets to the reader day by day to reveal a great beauty within.

A useful few pages begin each week of reflections and helps hold the prayer and the journey through Lent together. The 'small beer' becomes 'strong meat', especially in the reflections about 'our daily bread' which spill over into the following week and wonderfully tie forgiveness with food.

Inevitably, as Holy Week arrives her words are fewer as she allows the scripture to speak loudly of Christ's trial and the disciples' temptations. By then she has helped the reader to sit and listen, having been fed and forgiven, to the Father as He welcomes them into the kingdom.

Review by Revd Andrew Dotchin

From The Church Times - 18 January 2013

When You Pray by Joanna Collicut provides a meditation for each day in Lent, around weekly themes that focus on six petitions from the much neglected Lucan form of our Lord's Prayer.

Throughout the book, Collicut displays a sure touch, and I felt that, in whatever direction this definite polymath took me, I was safe in her hands. Homely examples from her family life and upbringing sit side by side with substantial psychological insights, and biblical interpretation that is positively encyclopaedic, all seasoned with a wry and informed look at church practices across all traditions.

Her literary style is delightfully unstuffy, tight, direct, and humorous, as in: "Jesus says here simply that we should treat members of our 'out groups' as if they were our 'in group'," or "Jesus transforms rather than creates. He takes limited human resources - paltry quantities of bread and fish and a group of rather feeble followers - and changes them." Collicut comes across as a familiar friend, a fellow traveller who understands and empathises with the human condition, boldly walking with you through Lent to draw you to your true home.

Reviewed by The Rt Revd David Wilbourne, Assistant Bishop of Llandaff

Book details

  • ISBN: 9780857460899
  • Published: 23 November 2012
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208
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