Even though I have heard the Lord’s 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.”
For me the Lord’s 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’s 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. Also we forgive one another in community, and collectively seek to be delivered from evil. We do these things with the expectation that His love will reign in our hearts. Yet, there is much more to the Lord’s prayer than I originally thought. There is also 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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