The Lord’s Prayer isn’t exactly an accurate title for Matthew 6:9-13. Jesus wasn’t praying this prayer for himself but rather was teaching us how to pray daily. Although this is a model prayer that Jesus taught us to pray individually, the pronouns me, my or myself do not appear anywhere in it. It does include the pronouns we, our, and us nine different times.
Jesus’ use of these pronouns is a profound explanation of how prayer connects us. Just as an individual’s actions, behaviors and decisions affect more than just the individual, so does an individual’s prayers. There is so powerful an interconnectivity among believers that he taught us a prayer that begins “Our Father” and teaches us to pray for each other’s provision, forgiveness and deliverance.
Somewhere along the way in the modern church, “we, our and us” became singular; there is an emphasis on individual fulfillment. Our prayers tend to focus on my dreams, my calling, my ministry, my family. I confess, I am guilty of singularizing the Gospel of Jesus in an effort to get what I want, but he is correcting me through the prayer he taught me.
His prayer is a heavenly mandate that we are members of one another. Much of our Christian life is completely dependent upon one another. Yes, there is individual love for us from God and individual prayers answered, but there is fulfillment within the body of Christ that has consequences for everyone. When we pray “we, our and us” we come to understand the church Jesus started. The Way of the church of Acts is that we know each other, we take care of each other, and we pray for each other.
What would happen if much of our prayer time shifted from “me, myself and mine” to “we, our and us”? I believe we would be individually impacted by a broad movement within our communities, nation and world. See, when we pray collectively and there is a collective move, the consequences are magnified and far reaching.
We are all members of one body, so it is with Christ. “For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body.” 1 Corinthians 12:14-15. As members of the same body, we function together, and we have the same heartbeat…Christ.
I think that when we get to heaven, we will be surprised by a few things that mattered here on earth. I think some of the small things that we do will be enormously important in eternity. I believe that the prayers we pray for others will determine our reward far more than we realize. Heaven’s mandate for earth is implemented through the sample prayer given to us by Jesus. It is really all about “we, our and us” not “me, my or mine.”