Not me. Us.
If you don’t know how to pray, Jesus wants to make it easy for you.
Halfway through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lays it out real simple. Short and sweet, Jesus says to pray like this:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For the Kingdom, power and glory are yours, forever and ever.
You can pray other prayers if you want, or add stuff to Jesus’ prayer. Throw on a little flourish, gussy it up real nice. But you don’t need to. You can spend your whole life praying these words and nothing else, and I predict you’d be just fine.
And if you did that, starting today, and the only thing you ever prayed for the rest of your life were the words Jesus told you to pray, there would be an interesting fact to your prayer life.
You’d spend your life in prayer, and never say the words, ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘my’ or ‘mine’. You’d never say anything that was specific to you.
Because the prayer Jesus taught us to pray isn’t about me, or you, or any individual person. The Lord’s prayer is about us.
Give us this day our daily bread…
Forgive us our sins…
Lead us not into temptation…
Deliver us from evil…
When Jesus told us what to pray, he instructed us to speak the language of mutual concern, shared need, and the common good.
God does not belong to any one of us. God is God for all of us. The good things that any one of us might pray for – bread, forgiveness, protection, rescue - these are things that God wills for all people.
And so all of us should ask ourselves, “When I pray, when I root myself in faith, do I make it all about me? If so, would I be willing to change? Am I willing take Christ’s instruction, and reorient my spirit, knowing that grace is about all of us, together?”