The Most Powerful Prayer
I grew up in a church that prized prayers that came straight from the heart. There was no liturgy or repetition. No one read prayers. Instead, we prayed what was in our hearts. We were taught the Lord’s Prayer, and occasionally prayed it, but it was infrequent at best. Sadly, I must admit that I have often been guilty of mindlessly repeating the words of this beautiful prayer, little thinking or realizing their power. I’m guessing that I’m not the only one.
I have since grown to love and deeply appreciate this prayer and believe it is probably the most powerful prayer that any believer can incorporate into his or her daily prayer life. This is the first of a series of blog posts on this powerful prayer which Jesus himself taught us.
We will break it up into very small portions, looking for themes and principles that will not only help us better understand this prayer, but also enrich our entire prayer life.
It’s About “Us”
We will start by looking at the first word of the prayer, “our.” The opening word is one of the most important pieces of the prayer, setting the tone for everything that follows. It isn’t about “me.” It is about “us.”
With that first word, Jesus is telling us a whole lot. There is literally, a whole world in that one word. He puts selfishness and every sense of isolation out of the picture. “I” am part of something bigger. This perspective stands in complete opposition to our nature and our culture which places a sense (and love) of self above all else.
Self is a giant hidden in the heart of every man and woman. It wants control. The more control the “self giant” has in our lives, the further we are from being who God wants us to be and the further we are from the image of God.
In the beginning, God said, “let us make man in our own image.”
So, as we live our lives, we must think of us, we, and ours, not of I, me, or mine. If you look through the entire Lord’s Prayer, every pronoun is plural. Every. Single. One. Jesus is teaching us that we must not be selfish. Our perspective must be framed by an encompassing sense of being part of the body of Christ. As we pray, we must never (or rarely) pray only for ourselves. We must pray for “us” and “ours.”
A Prayer Challenge
As you pray today, tomorrow, and the weeks to come, in fact–throughout the rest of your life–I challenge you to pray with a different mindset. Pray for us and our instead of for me and mine.
You may find, like me, you are shockingly selfish at your core. After seeing the truth in the Lord’s Prayer, I started noticing how often I prayed using words like, “Lord, help me…” and “Lord, give me…” I seldom prayed for “us” and “our.”
This is a completely different mindset. It is the mind of the Lord. It is the instruction of the Lord. It is revolutionary, and it is the way we should pray.
In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
(King James Version)
About Michelle Landsverk
I am passionate about the Word of God and believe wholeheartedly in the authenticity of scripture. I also believe that the Bible isn’t written in a secret code; God designed it to be read, understood, and lived out by everyday people. I gave my heart to Jesus when I was a child and strive everyday to live a life in which I “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God.” Micah 6:8