9 "This, then, is how you should pray:
" 'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.'
(Matthew 6:9-13; TNIV)
Notice what this praying is about. It's about the Jesus Creed, loving God with all of our being and activity, and loving our neighbor as ourselves. It is given to us from Jesus, as he gave it to his disciples. It is surely for us, a gift. A gift to help us know how to pray. Though at times we're certainly overwhelmed, and need the Spirit's intercession (Romans 8).
Note that this prayer is not given in individualistic terms. It's not merely about myself. Yes, I pray it as petitions for me. But the prayer is framed with words as if I am not praying alone. Others are with me in the prayer, the communion of saints still here on earth. They are surely praying the same prayer. Yet also I am praying not only for myself but for all my brothers and sisters in the faith. So this is a prayer that takes us beyond just praying for ourselves. But for others as well. And for God's name and glory.
Do we pray this pray regularly? At least daily? It seems in evangelical circles in which I live, to pray "the Lord's prayer" smacks all too much of an empty ritualistic rote ceremony. This is unfortunate. We need this prayer. Every part of it is important, in our worship and praise of God and desire for his shalom on earth, and for our own ongoing needs. This prayer boils it down to the essentials. And we are at a great loss not to be regularly engaged in it.
Do you pray this prayer regularly, daily? If so, what difference has it made? In your life? And in others lives?