Finding Faith: The solidarity in The Lord's Prayer
"The prayer is dear to Christians because Jesus, the son of God, teaches us to pray in this fashion. And while there are variations depending upon the Christian denomination, the prayer has remained fairly consistent in wording for hundreds of years."
Our church council meets one night per month to discuss business and ministry. Council members are elected from our parishioners and serve (more or less willingly!) for a few years to guide the church’s operations.
One of my favorite moments as a pastor each month is that at the close of the council meeting, the 10 of us stand and together recite “The Lord’s Prayer.”
The prayer is dear to Christians because Jesus, the son of God, teaches us to pray in this fashion. And while there are variations depending upon the Christian denomination, the prayer has remained fairly consistent in wording for hundreds of years:
“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
It has been reported that Fuller Seminary professor Clayton Schmit said of “The Lord’s Prayer”: “there is a sense of solidarity in knowing that Christians around the globe are praying together … and these words always unite us.”
And that is why this moment at the end of the meeting gives me chills: After we adjourn, we all rise, fold our hands and in unison recite the prayer.
In that moment, there is electricity in the air; the space around us grows still; and all the other worldly sounds disappear. Time gets suspended, and as we pray, the 10 of us inexplicably through God’s will are united with all of the other faithful people in the world … past, present and yet to come!
To hear the various timbres, tones and variations spoken of these holy servants, together in one voice lifting up this ancient and common prayer asking God to be present among us and to care for the corporate needs of the entire body of Christ … is breathtaking.
Standing in our church library, after having witnessed the council members take time out of hectic schedules to do the work of the church, and then see this small group reaffirm their faith in an abundant and loving God is nothing short of holy.
They become as one, and none of their differences matter as much as the fact that they are reaching out together in supplication to their beloved God. … Just as saints before them have for hundreds of years, and the saints after them will for hundreds more!
That moment stirs joy in my heart every single month, no matter how many times I participate in it!
Devlyn Brooks, who works for Modulist, a Forum Communications Co.-owned company, is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. He serves as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Wolverton, Minnesota. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for comments and story ideas.