Over the next few weeks we are going to lock in on prayer.
Question: What does prayer have to do with the gospel?
I intentionally try to keep these posts short. You have a lot going on and, if you are like me, there is much more to read than there is time in the day. So, I want to respect your time by writing brief posts. That said: It is going to take a few posts to connect prayer and the gospel – so stick around and let’s dive in!
In Matthew 6, Jesus is giving us a model of what prayer is. We know it today as: “The Lord’s Prayer”.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day 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 evil.
Now, there is a lot we could talk about in this brief prayer! (The scope of this blog will not get into the entire Lord’s Prayer. However, if you would like a great book on prayer and the Lord’s Prayer, I highly recommend Paul Miller’s book “A Praying Life”)
In todays post we will only be looking at the plural aspect of the Lords Prayer. We can be so overly familiar with this prayer that we run through it in our minds, and don’t even consider the words it contains. Take 15 seconds and re-read it and try to catch the plural nature of this prayer.
Did you catch it?
- OUR Father
- Give US this day
- OUR daily bread
- Forgive US OUR debts
- as WE also have forgiven
- OUR debtors
- lead US not…. but deliver US from evil.
Our, Us, We are all plural words!
You say…. “duh”! But, think about that for a moment. What is Jesus saying to us when He begins with the plural word “our” and continues throughout this prayer with “we” and “us”? He did not have to use those words, He could have used other words…. but He didn’t. Was that an accident, insignificant, or perhaps intentional and instructive?
I guess that will depend on your view of God and Scripture. As for me…. it’s no accident! All that God does and says is on purpose.
What is the point?
The point is that prayer is not only something I (singular) do. Prayer is also something I do (plural). Because “our” and “we” and “us” speaks to a corporate aspect, or a plural aspect of prayer. God is OUR Father. He is not only my Father, or your Father, He is OUR Father.
In the church that I pastor, we have been seeking to bring a vision and emphasis on prayer. Specifically, we are devoting attention to this aspect of corporate prayer. Sure, we believe in private prayer. But, (and this is sad) over the years I have not lead this church well to see the priority of corporate prayer. When Jesus says: “pray in this way, our Father…..” He is making a statement about prayer… that it is something that can be done together.
Let me ask you: Does your understanding of prayer only include private prayer and personal devotions?
Christians today are much more private and…. singular in their walk with Christ. But, the Bible is much more corporate and….. plural.
When you see the bible instructs us to “Pray”: What comes to mind?
Is it, you at your house alone in prayer? Or, is it you with a group of believers praying together? Don’t hear what I am NOT saying: I think prayer of ALL kinds is wonderful! God hears prayer…. personal and corporate! By all means…. pray alone at home!!! The Bible certainly instructs us towards private prayer. But, I do also find it instructive how often prayer is thought of in the Bible as…. plural.
How about you?
Where do you see prayer in the bible as plural?
What does this have to do with the Gospel? As I said earlier…… EVERYTHING! Jesus came and died to bring US into a relationship with God the Father. And it is out of this relationship WE now pray. Much more on that in future posts.
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