The Personal Nature of the Lord's Prayer
Editor Note: What follows is an excerpt from my family devotions on the Lord's Prayer through GraceForSinners
I shouted, “Judah, stop!” and little eyes looked up at me. Few things are more personal than a commanding inflection on a child’s name. Some will remember getting chills when our mother called us by our full name. Seeing your name on a wedding certificate can make marriage seem more real.
Even in a crowd of strangers it’s hard to not turn around when you hear your name. The word “you” in Christ’s instruction has that kind of personal touch. The original audience of the Lord’s Prayer was Jesus’ own disciples. These guys walked behind Him and laughed at His jokes. These men and women ate with Him and occasionally saw His bed head (no combs ladies). Disciples in that day learned to mimic everything their Rabbi did and said. They would repeat phrases and dictums to carry on the teachings of their Rabbi. So, upon requesting an example of their Rabbi’s prayer life, these disciples received a personal and direct response.
Christ’s answer, “This is how you should pray,” would have carried extreme weight. This “you” would have been emphatically personal. The disciples were not guilty of thinking you meant that other sinner over there. So also, this “you” has been passed down for us—that personal touch is not lost. It’s not meant for some other Christian no matter how bad of a sinner we are.
My son almost always catches my eye as I say his name. He knows I am speaking directly to him. Sometimes he will pretend to look into the distance and see something of interest. Sometimes he will begin to tell a joke that no one can understand. He wants the attention shifted. But the connection has been made. I, as dad, have made a personal statement of interest. Similarly, Christ’s revelation and instruction cannot be ignored. That makes this prayer the foundational prayer of the church because the Person who prays this prayer places it above all other prayers.