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I have begun a series of blog entries on the foundations of prayer. And I think The Lord's Prayer is a logical place to start. Last week I discussed approaching God as father. This week I want us to note that Jesus told us to address God as "Our Father." This whole prayer is plural. "Give us our daily bread." "Forgive us our trespasses." "Lead us not into temptation."

I am always stirred by the prayer in Acts chapter 4 that is preceded by the words,  "They lifted their voices together to God." The power of God is mightily unleashed as we pray together. In Matthew 18 Jesus gave us a special promise when we agree in prayer. He gave us that in the context of reconciling with someone who has sinned against you. And He made such reconciliation a matter that concerns the entire church. In such situations we must pray together. But his statements about His being with us when we come together in the church and when we pray together seem to apply to many situations.

Our prayers should also be in tune with God's love for all persons. I often think of Samuel's word in 1 Samuel 12:23. "God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you." It is sin for us to neglect praying for others God has brought into our lives. And that includes people we may think are less important. God is no respecter of persons. I pray daily for a family who has an autistic child. My heart is stirred every time I pray for that boy. God seems to be reminding me that He longs for that boy to come to repentance quite as much as He cares for his parents. I believe God can use that boy with his handicap quite as easily as He can use the most gifted person I know of. And even if He does not use him mightily, God loves him every bit as much as He loves me.

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Comment by Vicki Normoyle on September 17, 2015 at 9:07pm
I too appreciate the thoughts about praying together.
Comment by David Young on September 17, 2015 at 7:48pm

Praise God, Andrew. That is great insight. 

Dave

Comment by Andrew R. Wheeler on September 17, 2015 at 7:55am

David, I really appreciate your thoughts about praying together, especially the nature of the Lord's Prayer, which was obviously a prayer meant to be prayed in community.  I think that much of the church's experience of any kind of "together" prayer these days is more along the lines of a prayer to close the sermon (which is often more of a mini-sermon itself than it is a prayer) or some other CEO-led prayer rather than the type of community prayer (participating as equals) that we see in Acts and that is implied by the Lord's Prayer.  We totally miss out on the James 5 command to confess our sins to each other and pray for each other.  When we pray together, we're focused not on confession and typically not on spiritual growth, but on situations we want God to "fix".  We need vision and instruction to really pray together as a community in our day.

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