Every week in our services we recite the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer is a simple prayer that Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6: 9-15 during His famous sermon on the mount, and in Luke 11: 1-4 as some observing Jesus praying, asked Him how they are to pray. The prayer is the bedrock on which our life of faith and the church stand. It encompasses almost all that is needed for a relationship with God. It is a prayer that acknowledges God’s holiness, righteousness and His sovereign rule over all the created. It also expresses our desire for God’s Kingdom rule to be apart of our world, for His objective goodness and truth to be tethered to all of humanity. In the prayer, we also pray for our needs to be met, our sins to be forgiven, for us to forgive others, God’s strength to help us resist our fallen nature that moves toward sin, and to keep us aware of the evil in the world while delivering us from satan’s trap to produce evil that leads to destruction. The prayer finishes with our proclamation of God’s rule, power, and glory that will never end. To recite the Lord’s prayer is to find peace. Its rhythms give calm and are known by all that know God throughout the world.
However, for all that the Lord’s Prayer encompasses, its opening words maybe the most important. It begins with “Our Father”, and when we think of a father we generally think of someone that is deeply personal to us. Our own human fathers, aside from maybe a few brothers and sisters, is a relationship that is all our own. Nobody else knows the relationship of love that a father and a child have but that particular child. A father is someone that is shared with only a few people. And if they are an only child, they share their father’s love with no one. So to refer to God as Father is a statement that reveals a deeply personal relationship of Love. But the profound truth of its opening words is not found in its personal but communal proclamation—for the Lord’s prayer opens with “Our Father”not “My Father”.
During my life, I have recited the Lord’s Prayer with people of all ages, races, and in multiple languages. I have recited it with the profoundly educated, and those that are in preschool. I have recited it with those in the prime of their lives, and those that are at the end of their lives. I have recited with those that are in good times and those that are living the worst most painful days of that lives. I have recited it alone in the dark and in a church with thousands of people. It is the prayer that unites us all as brothers and sisters with our one Father in Heaven. We share the deeply personal relationship that only a father and child knows with the entire community of faith, with everyone on the planet…Brothers and Sisters, this is why our Father begins our prayer not “Your Father”or “My Father” but “Our Father”. Glory be to the Lord our God, Jesus the Christ.