The disciples aren’t necessarily known for asking great questions, but in Matthew chapter 6 we see the disciples ask Jesus a question most of us would have liked to ask him as well: how should we pray? The Lord’s Prayer is Jesus’ response to the disciples’ question.
Dr. Samuel Stephens is president of the India Gospel League, and one of Hope’s longtime missionaries. I’m grateful to call him a friend. Last year Sam wrote a book called Prayer that Changes Me. It’s a daily devotional that walks through the Lord’s Prayer. I’ve been trying to spend time daily with the Lord’s Prayer and have been using Sam’s book to help me.
In my time with the Lord’s Prayer, I keep stopping at the first line, “Our Father…”
The belief that God is our Father should change my perspective on everything! This intimate relationship with God entitles me to certain birth rights as a child, it gives me my identity, it places all other relationships in a different context, and it frankly has too many other implications to list in a blog post like this.
“Our Father…” reminds me that my faith can’t be simply about my own life; rather, it is a family affair — personal, yet linked with all our Heavenly Father’s children. Sam Stephens says, “Certainly I can have a personal relationship with God, but I can’t separate that relationship from the one I am called to have with all His other children, my brothers and sisters in Christ. ‘Our Father’ involves everyone God strategically brings into my life, through all circles of influence, and in my personal prayers.”
As I’ve been spending time in the Lord’s Prayer, I have been reminded that my faith is meant to be lived out in relationship with others, and every time I pray as Jesus taught, I see that I’m not the only voice, the only agenda, and the only child in His family.
“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.’” Matt 6:9-13
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4