Without a doubt, the “Our Father” is the most universally recognized Christian prayer, uniting believers throughout the world. It’s a prayer that many of us learned as children and has become so routine, that we might rattle off the words without giving a second thought to their meaning or what we are asking of God.
As I reflect on the words of the Lord’s Prayer, I was struck by three distinct phrases that inspire and challenge me.
First, “Our Father…” We address God in a most personal way. God is our father and we are his children, no different than the loving, caring, relationships we hold dear with our children and families.
“Thy will be done…” In a world that promotes self-centeredness and that it’s all about me…we state in the Lord’s Prayer that it’s not about my wants, but God’s will which is to be done.
The third phrase, and most significant: “Forgive us, as we forgive…” How do we want God to treat us? By forgiving us in the manner that we forgive others. How we act towards others, is how we are asking God to treat us!
C. S. Lewis wrote: “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it means to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves.
The next time you pray the most common of Christian prayers, “The Lord’s Prayer,” reflect on what the words truly mean and what you are asking of God, “Our Father.” I guarantee your prayer will take on a whole new meaning and become anything but common.