As we prayed the Our Father in yesterday’s service, I was stricken by a very powerful observation concerning what the Lord Jesus has directed us to pray.
In earlier occasions I have also observed that the Lord Jesus teaches us to pray differently than He prayed and prays. Whenever Jesus prays, He prays: “My Father.” But He teaches us to pray: “Our Father.” This is because Jesus is the only-begotten of the Father, even from eternity. Jesus is truly one with the Father. We are made to be brothers of Jesus, created in His image, for Jesus is the very image of God.
In His prayer for His disciples Jesus prayed that they would be made one even as He and the Father are one. He did not in any way imply that we would be one with Father, except that we are made to be one in Jesus. In Jesus we are made to be one, even as in the Godhead the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one. In Jesus, in His body, we are married to God, as St. Paul declares this mystery in Ephesians 5. We are not married to God as individuals, but together as the bride of Christ. Thus we pray, “Our Father.”
In this connection, as we pray the Our Father, I observed yesterday another affirmation that this prayer is really very simply an extended “Amen!” to all that God teaches us in the Holy Scriptures. I observed that the Fourth Petition begins a reiteration and explanation of what we prayed in the first three petitions. In the first three petitions we affirm that as our Heavenly Father, God proclaims His holy will to be that His kingdom comes to us even now as we live our earthly lives and that His good and gracious will be worked to us and in us so that we live in accord with His good and gracious will within His Holy Church and in our daily lives. Having prayed this as what God’s will is for His beloved children, we then affirm this as our Daily Bread, our daily need fully supplied by our loving Father. Then we affirm that God’s kingdom coming to us through our baptism and being renewed among us in the Holy Supper, we receive God’s promise to forgive us freely of all of our sins so that we eagerly will also freely forgive all others for whom Jesus has won this forgiveness. We then further acknowledge that this is the very means by which God delivers us from the evil one and all of the evil in the world so that we live in the safety of His household all our days. We then conclude, praying an extended doxological Amen.
Truly the Lord is our Shepherd and as His beloved sheep we shall have no want.
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