Taking Prayer from Me to Us
By Mark Wollenberg, National Director of Church Mobilization
"Our Father…Give Us Today…Forgive Us…Lead Us…Deliver Us.” Matthew 6:9-13
It is amazing how one word can, all of a sudden, cause us to pay attention to things we often overlook. The Lord’s Prayer is familiar to most of us and has reminded us of what we should be praying for. I have used this prayer many times in my own prayer life as a guide to pray for things that pertain to my life, my world and my needs.
But on one occasion, as I was reading this passage again, I could not get passed the first word in this prayer. "Our” became a significant word for me as I realized that Jesus was not giving us a prayer to pray for "my” needs, but for a much broader world that he cared about. This was a prayer for community and about community.
I was not to ask for "my” daily bread but for "our” daily bread. The fact that I have enough food for today and next week does not keep me from asking for those who live everyday with no bread or rice. This prayer does not let me rest in the good fortune of where I live but it calls me to consider others who desperately need sustenance for their survival.
Likewise the request to deliver "us” from evil causes me think about those who are literally experiencing the evil of sex trafficking or who are slaving in a rice mill or rose farm in India. When I pray for their deliverance the space between my relatively safe world and their world of terror becomes much smaller.
This prayer from Jesus really calls us to look out not for ourselves but for others. This prayer keeps us connected to those who need forgiveness, those who are struggling with temptation, and those who literally need to be delivered from the evil they are experiencing in their lives. And when we feel closer to one another we actually can begin to find ways to help those who need a brother or a sister.
Lord Jesus help me to think less about me and more about us, as you taught us to do.