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A New Twist for An Old Prayer

The Lord’s prayer has always been a part of my life. As a child I remember hearing it during church service, prayer meeting and vesper services. When my family and I had worship, we recited the prayer together. I’ve seen it written and framed on walls and have been been handed cards at funerals with the words written on the back. I’ve heard it played over and over in song, which has contributed to it probably being the most popular prayer in the world.

Even though I have heard this prayer more than a thousand times, I never paid attention to what the words really meant. At times I would wrestle with a financial issue and would silently pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Or if I felt guilty about something I had done, I would whisper, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” If I struggled with a temptation or was about to do something wrong, I might think, “Please deliver me from evil.” However, what I never noticed was the first word of the prayer itself—”Our.”

Our Father

For me this prayer had always been centered on me. I recited “Our Father,” but I meant, “My Father.” Yet seeing this one word suddenly changed my whole interpretation of the prayer. It wasn’t about me at all. It was about we. It is a prayer for the followers of Christ that encompasses all who are a part of His spiritual kingdom.

Before I realized this, I had the image of one person going to battle in a broken and fallen world. Now I have the image of all God’s children working together to reflect His Kingdom values. I am connected with people all over the world who pray, “Our Father.”

Collectively we pray “our Father,” and we pray for His will to be done in our lives. We partake of physical and spiritual bread together, forgive one another in community, and collectively seek to be delivered from evil—with the expectation that His love will reign in our hearts. Yet, there is much more to this prayer than I originally thought, including the idea that when we come together and pray, we are doing it for us.

Pamela Williams writes from Southern California

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About Pamela A. Williams, MPH, R.D.

Pamela A. Williams, MPH, R.D.

is a dietitian in Southern California.

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