Not all about me

The words are so familiar.  We say them so often - in church, in school, at funerals, at weddings, at home in our own private conversations with God.

Some people like the traditional version:  'Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name...'.  Some prefer the new:  'Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name...'.

Either way, they're the words Jesus gave His first disciples.  They knew that He prayed, and that His prayer was part of both the cause and effect of the profound relationship He enjoyed with God.  And they wanted something of the same.  So they asked Him: 'Lord, teach us how to pray.'

It's not the only way to pray, but they're good words to know off by heart.  So when you're at the end of your tether, when all else fails, when you don't know what else to say - you can say this prayer.

It's a masterpiece!  There's so much packed in.  It starts with God, puts our lives into the perspective of eternity, and then turns to the basics that we all need - food, forgiveness, the ability to make good choices.

The words are so familiar.  I suppose we often say them without really paying attention.  But perhaps what's most significant is not the list of what we're praying for, but that it's what we are praying for.  It's not my prayer, it's our prayer.  It's not my Father, it's our Father.

It would be a very different prayer if Jesus had said: 'This is how you should pray.  My Father in Heaven ... give me my daily bread.  Forgive me my sins.  Lead me ...'

It's a prayer we make with each other, and for each other. It's an expression of our interdependence and an expression of our responsibility for each other.

I can't pray for my needs to be met without praying for yours as well.  I can't ask to be forgiven if I'm not willing to forgive.  I can't ask for enough to eat if I'm not wanting you to have enough as well, whether you live in this village or on the other side of the world.  And if it's my greed that's preventing you from having enough...?

So maybe I can't ask for the things I need, if I'm not also willing to be part of the answer to my prayers for other people.

Love Lorna