|The Lamb's Bride Symposium
|The Lamb's Bride Project|
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Matthew 6:9-13: The Lord's Prayer
Copyright ©1998 Dick Wulf. Permission is granted to copy and distribute.
We are all familiar with The Lord's Prayer -- possibly too familiar. It might be so familiar that we can even say it without thinking it.
But what if we pray it without thinking the right things?
Everything in the Lord's Prayer is plural. All of the Lord's Prayer is written from a plural point of view: OUR father, give US, forgive US, lead US not into temptation, deliver US. All those phrases are worthy of study to find out what meanings we miss because we normally would think "me" when we read or say "us."
When we call God our Father, we should be thinking as one sibling among many. Who taught us to be so individualistically possessive? Who taught us to be so spoiled as to think like an only child?
And when we declare, "Hallowed be thy name," why do we think that if we individually declare the sacredness of His name, that is an adequate offering by His church? Should we not be thinking that the whole assembly is declaring His name hallowed? And, if we know that our brothers and sisters are not genuine in their praise (perhaps their lives show only casual regard for God), should we not take action to help them revere the Most High God? Then our prayer will be much more acceptable.
When we pray for His kingdom to be on earth as it is in heaven, why do we not think of the society of His kingdom and all the citizens in proper relationships with each other? Instead, when we pray that particular phrase of the Lord's Prayer, we are probably thinking the world would honor the Ten Commandments. But nowhere in Scripture is it said that the world would follow God at this time in history. No, we are to be praying that the church follows God's law and His commands. This includes how He wants us to live together. The kingdom of God should be a society that lives together faithfully -- because the King declares how the citizens of the kingdom are to treat one another!
When we pray for daily bread, we should have in our minds the whole gathering of believers. Why are we not thinking beyond our immediate family?
When we ask for forgiveness, why are we not desperately wanting everyone's sins to be forgiven? Why would we want to be so selfish as to focus on ourselves, or, at most, only our family? Jesus died to cleanse the whole church. The Bride is to be dressed in white, forgiven completely.
Note that our forgiveness in the Lord's Prayer is deeply grounded in Christian community. Our forgiveness is dependent upon our forgiving others. The King of the kingdom forgives his subjects as they forgive their fellow citizens, even as they forgive those outside the kingdom.
When we ask to not be led into temptation, are we cognizant of all our Christian friends in our church and their need to stay pure and have victory from temptations in order to glorify God? Again, why are we so humanistic to be thinking only of our own walk with the Lord? The Lord is primarily honored when His church, including all its members, is kept from temptation and delivered from evil.
To establish a more complete understanding of our requests in the Lord's Prayer, let us look a bit more closely at that portion where we ask for daily bread.
We normally see God answering this prayer on a person-by-person or family-by-family basis. If Jesus meant for us to pray "give ME this day MY daily bread," that would be a perfectly acceptable practice. But, instead, He said, "Give US this day OUR daily bread"!
How we view God's provision is critical to how we think of and use our material possessions. Does God's provision come to each of us as individuals or to all of us together as a community of believers? This portion of the Lord's Prayer is a prayer to God for the benefit of the local and international church, not for an individual or an individual's family?
When we pray, "Give us this day our daily bread," we should have in mind the whole body of believers, especially the poorest ones. If we did so, hardly a person would leave our fellowship without money for groceries.
It should be far easier to practice thinking correctly when praying the Lord's Prayer in a small group where people know and care deeply for one another. That practice should then carry over to the larger congregational fellowship.
To allow people's minds to think the breadth of the Lord's Prayer, I wonder if it should not be said one phrase at a time with a minute in between. Then when we together in our small groups and congregations prayer this great prayer, we could have the time necessary to think of those in our local church as well as those around the world when we ask for food, true kingdom community, forgiveness and deliverance from evil. 
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