“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven’” (Matthew 6:9a NIV)
When we’re doing something of great importance, something that should invite an appropriate degree of “fear and trembling,” it is best not to go it alone. Talking with God in prayer is something we want, quite rightly, both to play up and to play down, so to speak. We want to play it down because we must remember that prayer is simply a conversation. God is as near to us as a word of thanks or a cry for help. We want to play it up because we must remember that to have access to the Almighty and Holy God of all creation is an amazing thing.
So prayer is both a great and terrifying privilege and a simple conversation. To engage in something so grand, we need company.
The first word in Jesus’ teaching about how to pray is that we never pray alone. We are always praying with the community of faith because we address God as “Our Father.”
Whether we are praying it together in worship (as many churches and worship services do) or on our own as part of daily prayers, we are acknowledging that this prayer belongs to and is prayed with the community of believers. This is good. We are not attempting to pioneer a life of prayer with God, rather we travel a well-worn path. God has not only saved us to be “mine” but “ours.”
Training: If you don’t already include the Lord’s Prayer in your personal daily prayers, do so this week. A good way to incorporate it is to close your prayer or devotional time with this prayer. As you pray it, pray the words deliberately and remember that praying this prayer joins you with billions of Christians around the world who pray to God as Jesus taught us how.
Prayer: God, thank you for the community of your Church. Thank you for the privilege of prayer. Keep me consistent and faithful in prayer, that I may know you more deeply and walk with you more closely each day. Amen.