PFOA: The Lord's Prayer

Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4 (KJV) 

It seems that the LORD's Prayer is used less and less in many churches. Possible reasons may be the many new translations now available which make it difficult to decide which version to use. Another is the preference for ex-temporal prayers over liturgical ones. This is a great loss.

It was the disciples who came to Jesus, asking Him to teach them to pray. And Jesus responded with "When you pray, say:..." (Luke 11:1-2). The LORD's Prayer is intended for use as both a model or template as well as being said as it is. Every disciple should know it by heart, and probably the King James Version is easiest to learn.

Others preferred to call this the Disciples' Prayer or the Family Prayer because it starts with "Our Father which art in heaven". The prayer is addressed to the Father. Only the Father's children, those who belong to His Family can address Him as such. Sometimes we hear said that "all men are brothers"; this is only true with respect to God as creator, with all men his creatures.

Only those who have received Jesus, who have believed in His name, have the right to become children of God and call Him Father (John 1:12). Spiritually we must be born again into His family (John 3:5) and legally adopted as sons (and daughters) (Gal. 4:5). But what a privilege - we can call Him "Abba! Father!" (Rom. 8:15). This is a term of endearment, of intimacy, of trust, of safety - just as a child sitting and talking in the lap of his/her father, bringing every need and concern to Him.

And yet .. He is also eternal, infinite, almighty, all-knowing, everywhere present - because He is in heaven, He is our Heavenly Father. Not only is He always there, always listening to us, always watching over us; but He is able and wise to act on our behalf, to protect, guide, teach, lead and enable us. As children, we need not be fearful when we come before Him, but because He is transcendent, we must come to Him in reverence and humility.

Notice also the first word - "Our". Because He is "Our Father", we recognise one another as members of God's family. We ask for God's blessings, but never at the expense of our brothers and sisters. So often we pray for fine weather for our activities, do we give thanks that God is answering a farmer's prayer for rain? We remember one another as members of the community of God, as citizens of His Kingdom. We pray for one another.