By Roberta C. Bondi

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Extra resources for A Place to Pray: Reflections on the Lord's Prayer

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The injured woman would not look up. She shook her head slowly from side to side. Her arms were covered with scratches and bites, and her hands were wrapped in bandages, but she tried to wring them anyway. She gulped and swallowed a few times while tears dripped from her eyes. "I must have done something really terrible for God to have punished me this way," she answered Deborah at last. Deborah was so astonished and angry at the idea that anybody in the world might believe that this rape was God's doing that she was speechless.

It was before we even got to the pots and pans that I realized I was hearing these ancient accounts in a new way. Rather than feeling judged by them, I was filled with awe and reverence at their beauty and fragility. What would happen to the memories of these women who were my own family? How could these stories containing the precious details of who they had been and what they had done be lost when my aunts and my mother died? At first, I was overcome with sadness. Then it came to me. I knew these stories; I had learned them against my will.

She replies. The father doesn't answer as the doctor approaches. "Why can't I have the car to drive to Macon for the ball game? " the teenager asks. " It is also amazing to me how often we want to describe the inexplicable power of our own inner compulsions as the will of God, compulsions that seduce us to give up what we want or to do what would hurt us or somebody else. In the same way, we find it easy to confuse what God wants with the painful internal pressures we often feel to conform to the expectation of our family, church, or culture.

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