They say that familiarity breeds contempt, but when it comes to the Scriptures, it can also breed ignorance. Because once you think you already know something, it’s very difficult to learn anything new.
Sadly, this is often the case when it comes to one of the most famous verses in the Bible – The Lord’s Prayer – because most of us know it by heart and can quote it verbatim, but there’s still a very good chance we don’t really understand what it’s actually saying.
At least, I didn’t fully understand the deeper message of the Lord’s Prayer myself until a few years ago when I intentionally tried to go back and re-read the Bible with completely fresh eyes. My hope was to hear what was being said by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount as if I’d never heard any of it before. I wanted to know what it would have been like to hear Jesus say these things for the very first time.
As I was reading through the Lord’s Prayer something wonderful jumped out at me and I realized a profound truth: The Lord’s Prayer isn’t about me.
Here’s what I mean: Jesus doesn’t instruct me to pray to “MY Father” or to ask for “MY daily bread” or to be forgiven for “MY sins.”
Instead, what Jesus instructs me to do is to pray to “OUR Father” and to ask for “OUR daily bread” and to be concerned with the forgiveness of “OUR sins.”
In other words, the Lord’s Prayer is a communal prayer that emphasizes how connected we all are to God, and to one another.
I had never noticed that before, to be honest. Every other time I had read the passage I internalized the message as being about me, not about “us” and that was, I believe, one of the main things Jesus wanted us to understand: We are all one family. We are all in this together.
So, now when I read this passage, and when I try to pray the way Jesus instructed, I take a new perspective on things. I pray to “OUR Father”, recognizing that God is not only my Abba, but everyone else’s Heavenly Father, too.
When I pray for daily bread, I approach the topic with a desire for everyone to have enough to eat, not just me. I take time to consider the needs of others, not just my own.
When I pray for forgiveness, I consider the importance of forgiving everyone, and of becoming an ambassador of reconciliation as if God Himself were making His appeal through me to proclaim the glorious message: God was in Christ NOT counting our sins against us, but reconciling the World [that’s all of us] to Himself.
So, the other day I was asked to preach at a local congregation here in El Paso [The First Presbyterian Church] about this very topic. As I was working to write down my message, I woke up at 4:30 A.M. on Sunday morning and wrote down this little “Lord’s Prayer Remix” which takes a different angle on the entire passage. Rather than approach the prayer from our perspective, I tried to think of the prayer from God’s perspective [which I think the original prayer is trying to get us to comprehend, honestly]. So, here’s what I wrote down:
“My children, created in my image, Love is who I am. Let love be who you are.
Please allow my Kingdom to come where you live; allow my heart to be your heart.
I’ve given you plenty of bread for each day. Can you make sure everyone has enough to eat?
I’ve already forgiven your sins, and the sins of the World, so can you please try to forgive one another?
I’ve shown you the way to live, so please pay attention to the path I’ve placed you on and keep walking in it every day.
I love you with an everlasting love, so there’s always more than enough to go around. Don’t be stingy with it, please.
For mine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.
Does that help you to see the message of the Lord’s Prayer any better? Maybe it does. I hope so. If not, maybe you could write your own version and see if it helps you to understand the deeper truths of this beautiful prayer.
Let us who have eyes to see and ears to hear take full advantage of our opportunity to put all we comprehend into daily practice.
FREE DOWNLOAD: The e-book “Unraveled: More Thoughts On Christian Entanglement” by Keith Giles is available now as a free PDF. If you’d like a FREE download of the entire 85-page book, you can grab one HERE
Keith Giles and his wife, Wendy, work with Peace Catalyst International to help build relationships between Christians and Muslims in El Paso, TX. Keith was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church over a decade ago to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today he is the author of several best-selling books, including “Jesus Undefeated: Condemning the False Doctrine of Eternal Torment” which is available now on Amazon.