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The Lord’s Prayer

I was at a Family Bible camp last week in Findley Lake, NY.  The morning speaker was Dr. Tim Dwyer from Roberts Weselyan College (my wife’s alma mater, BTW), who spoke for six days on the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6.  Sound boring?  It was anything but boring.  In fact, he made a point so obvious I was shocked that I had missed it before.  I’ll bet you’ve missed it, too.

The Lord’s prayer is written in the first person plural.  It is a prayer “we” pray, not one “I” pray.  In other words, it is a community prayer and not simply an individual model for prayer.  I was shocked that I missed this in the past, because I have learned to look for those first person plurals throughout the NT.

That changes how I view the prayer quite a bit.  When we collectively ask God to bring His kingdom, it should reorient us as a church body on what we can collectively do to proclaim that kingdom’s arrival and show what it might look like.  When we collectively ask God to make his name “hallowed” we are asking to be a part of that process as a church body, and not simply as an individual.  It should reorient us as a church.

Perhaps you could read it again, and see some other ways that the Lord’s prayer might reorient us as a church.  It’s reprinted below in the NIV.

9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

What do you think?

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  1. July 30, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    We taught the Youth Group this year that the Lord’s Prayer was a “Love God, Love Others” prayer.

    Love God:
    Hallowed be thy name
    Your kingdom come
    Your will be done

    Love Others:
    Give us our daily bread
    Forgive our debts as we forgive others
    Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

    What an impact our church could have on the Kingdom if we prayed this prayer in earnest!!!

  2. jlemke
    July 30, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    You’re right. In different words, Dwyer made roughly the same point. Structurally, the prayer moves from God to others.

  1. August 1, 2008 at 2:40 pm
  2. August 2, 2008 at 12:01 pm

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