“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
‘And do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’” Matthew 6: 9-13
I have been doing a sermon series on this very well known and much prayed prayer and for the first time something stood out. This isn’t a Me prayer, it is an Us prayer. It is a communal, group, we, us together, prayer. It is known as the Lord’s Prayer, but maybe we could call it the Church’s Prayer or the Body of Believers Prayer, or simply Our Prayer. Our, Us, those of us who have come to know and call on God through the life and person of Jesus Christ.
We begin with, “Our Father,” which is an amazing thing that we can approach God and call Him Father. The whole bunch of us chasing after Jesus get to come before the Throne of Heaven and address the one sitting there as Dad. Dad who is Heaven and whose will and design supersedes all others.
Then we pray about daily needs, Our daily needs. Not just mine but yours too. But what kind of family would we be if we weren’t looking after everyone in our group? After all, family takes care of family and Father is looking after all of Us. My needs are not more important than yours and what kind of a Father follower would I be if concern for you wasn’t part of my priorities.
Forgiveness: restoring broken relationships is a key part of this family and this Father. He wants us to make sure that we are repairing and caring for any missteps and hurts. He set the example by offering us full atonement/forgiveness through His Son Jesus. Forgiving is what this family does. We let the slights and bumps and hurts go. We let go of the anger and bitterness. We don’t demand pay back from those who “owe,” us for the harm they’ve done. We forgive because that is what Father does. It is His standard.
Temptations and struggles again it is an Us request. I am not just praying for Father to watch and keep me from sinning or falling away. I am praying for all of us. We want the family to be guarded and kept from failing. I want Us to be encouraged and even corrected if need be because it isn’t just about me. Our lives are at stake. We look after one another and we stand better against the one who seeks to “steal, kill and destroy,” John 10:10, when we are standing together.
Of course, in it all is the Us prayer for God’s will, Father’s will to be the practice here in Our world and time. The communal desire for God’s way to not only be Our way but the worlds. We want life on earth to be like life in Heaven.
Our Father who is in Heaven…