Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Lord's Prayer: Our Father

Why does Jesus teach us to pray to Our Father, rather than just to my Father?

In Matthew 6, Jesus makes two main points about prayer before he gives his disciples The Lord’s Prayer. First, he tells them not to pray for the sake of public performance. Next, he tells them not to heap up empty phrases. Regarding the first point, Jesus says,

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. (Matt 6:6)

Sounds like a private matter, doesn’t it? I go into my room, shut my door, and pray to my Father. And yet, Jesus doesn’t begin the model prayer with My Father, but Our Father. Why is that?

If I’m praying in my room, and you’re praying in yours, why do we pray to our Father? I don’t know, but I know that saying 'our' makes me think of how we all have the same basic relation to the Father. We’re all children. We’re all brothers and sisters, even if it doesn’t always seem that way.

When I think about the inclusiveness of 'our,' I sometimes think about three groups of people: believers whose faith and practice look basically like mine; believers whose faith and practice show clear distinctions from mine; and, nonbelievers. Those relationships involve all manner of details that we’ll never sort out before Christ’s return.

Still, we can take solace in knowing that Jesus taught us all to approach our Maker from the same place. Even when we pray alone, we pray together, to our Father.

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