When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, the word "our" must have rocked their world, to use the popular vernacular.
1. Before this, only the priest prayed on behalf of the people. With the introduction of this simple phrase, "our Father", Jesus empowered each of us to pray on behalf of another. And so, in effect, we are all priests. In fact we are a priestly people, we are all prophets, and we share in the kingdom.
2. If he's"our" Father, then that makes us children of God. All of us. That's pretty cool. But wait! There's more...
3. That Jesus said it makes him our brother. Yes, I know we've heard that said, but has it really sunk in? He's a sibling - we can talk to him just that plainly. He's one of the family.
4. And here's the relationship that changes everything, or has the potential to change our lives. If we're all children of God, then we are brothers and sisters. All of us.
You know how sometimes kids accuse their parents of playing favourites? Of course they don't, they love their children individually and equally, and especially so does God. (Have you ever noticed? When we think our parents play favourites, it's never we who are the favourite, but when we think God has favourites, we assume it's us, our way of life, our country...)
You know that madman that wants to wipe Israel off the map? God loves him as much as he loves me. You know those madmen that flew the planes into the buildings, or those who want us dead, or those who kill Christians simply for following Christ? God loves them as much as he loves me; as much as he loves you. That family who lives next to us that dumps their garbage on my lawn every day? God loves them even though they're driving us crazy.
|Picture borrowed from Calvary Chapel Shreveport|
When we pray the Lord's Prayer, it's not a personal prayer at all. It's a prayer for and on behalf of everyone, even those who don't believe.
More to come...