For many years now, Monday through Saturday, I have begun each day by praying the Lord’s prayer before I get out of bed. On Sunday mornings I have a different prayer routine, but I listen to the Lord’s prayer as one of the first songs of my week (my favorite version is the one by Andrea Bocelli).
Jesus gave us this model prayer in what is known as his Sermon on the Mount. Hear his words, recorded in Matthew 6:9-13:
“This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’”
[For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]
Consider these wise words: “When the Christian community prays ‘Our Father…’ it is joining with fellow Christians from all continents and nations, races and colors, languages and dialects who for two thousand years have witnessed their faith in Jesus by praying in this way. It would be unfortunate if the Christian church were to surrender this aspect of its heritage” (Robert H. Stein, Jesus the Messiah, p. 34).
How unfortunate, indeed! As disciples and in our churches, we should always remember that the Lord offered this brief prayer in order to teach us to pray this way. We can and should go beyond the Lord’s prayer and pray about many other things; but we should never stop praying the Lord’s prayer.
This prayer is a uniting prayer. It brings people together, because it is so obviously one which anyone who wants to follow Jesus and his teachings ought to pray. So…let us pray!