Reading: Matthew 6:5-15
What we call the Lord’s Prayer, where Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray, is found in Matthew 6 as part of the Sermon on the Mount. A similar prayer is found in Luke 11, when a disciple asks Jesus to teach him how to pray. Because this is the prayer that Jesus taught, most of us have it memorized. One problem with things that are memorized is that it is easy to recite without thinking about what the words mean. It is easy to speak the prayer and not consider what the prayer says. Sometimes when something is familiar, I need to stop, listen, and focus on the familiar to see what it has to teach me. If we believe that Jesus intended us to pray this way, then it is worthwhile to stop and listen to his teaching.
The first thing that stands out as I listen is that after telling me to go into a private room and shut the door, to make the prayer personal and secret, the next words are plural. I pray to our Father, and I ask our Father to give us our daily food. I ask that we are forgiven just as we forgive others. Jesus tells me to pray by myself so that nobody sees me, but as I pray alone, I am not only praying for myself, I am praying as part of a community. Community is an important part of our faith; important enough that Jesus taught me to pray as a member of the community, even behind closed doors and by myself.
SONG: Blessed Be the Tie that Binds
PRAYER SUGGESTION: Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9–13)
This reflection was published in the Summer 2020 edition of Fruit of the Vine.