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The Lord's Prayer (Lesson 2)
An Often-Overlooked Word | Matthew 6:9
— Matthew 6:9
There’s a word in the Lord’s prayer that some of us may have missed.
I think I have.
When Jesus teaches his disciples to pray, he begins with a plural pronoun.
Notice, he doesn't say my father in heaven. Rather, he begins with our father in heaven. The distinction between a singular believer and a community of believers is significant.
Christianity is not primarily a me religion. It’s a we religion.
Furthermore, we may note the our-ness is not merely a socio-political collective, nor is it defined by political, ethnic, or any other tribal distinction.
The focus of our plurality is familial.
We address God as our Father.
By teaching us to pray like this, Jesus places us in a posture of a specific identity. We are to see ourselves before God as spiritual siblings.
This means Christians are not orphans, even if our biological parents are no longer living. The children of God, adopted by Grace, are our brothers and sisters in the same family.
Someone may claim that a family bond of such a spiritual nature is not as significant as true blood relations. Yet, it doesn't take us long to realize that, if any family is bound by blood, it is the family of God, united by the cross of Jesus as the family crest.
This is expressly stated by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:15-18,
"By his death he ended the whole system of Jewish law that excluded the Gentiles. His purpose was to make peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating himself one new person from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. He has brought this good news of peace to the Gentiles who were far away from him, and to us Jews who were near. Now all of us, both Jews and Gentiles, may come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us" (NLT).
While the initial context of this text relates to the unity between two groups of people, namely Jews and Gentiles, the overarching principle is the same as it applies to unity in the family of God as brothers and sisters with a common father.
This is emphasized in verse 18, where Paul writes, " Now all of us… may come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us."
That’s the main point: “Because of what Christ has done for us.”
Again, not just for me. But for us. Not singular but plural.
Christians truly are bound by blood. Blood that covers our sins, uniting us together in the same family, as spiritual siblings who live by the unmerited mercy, kindness, and grace of God in Jesus.
It is this posture of we versus me that puts us in the frame of mind and heart to pray together, “Our father,” longing for the kind of love for each other that testifies to the truth, beauty, and power of the gospel, which is the embodiment of Christ’s love displayed, not just for me, but for us.
Why do you think Jesus begins the Lord's Prayer with the plural pronoun "our"?
How does understanding our identity as spiritual siblings change the way we view other believers in the church?
What is the significance of Christians being "bound by blood"?
How does the concept of the family of God impact the way you pray and interact with other believers?
What is the connection between our unity as believers and our testimony to the truth of the gospel?
We are grateful for the privilege of calling you our Father. We recognize we are part of a larger family, united by the blood of Jesus. We pray for a deeper understanding of our identity as spiritual siblings, bound together in your love.
We ask for your help in cultivating a heart of love for our brothers and sisters in the family of God. May our love for each other reflect the truth, beauty, and power of the gospel, and may our unity testify to the love of Christ displayed for us.
For we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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My deep desire is for these lessons to help your family come alive to the wonder, beauty, and transforming power of God’s grace in the crucified, risen, and reigning Jesus. 🙏
Yours, by grace alone,