The Gospel for Real Life

Praying in Community

Tonight was a wonderful experience for me as I prayed with the body of believers at Ventura.  We started our time looking at the prayer recorded in Matthew 6.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

One interesting facet about this prayer is that Jesus uses plural nouns.  This seems to at least suggest that we need to find opportunity to pray in community with other believers who have God as their Father.

I was blessed by that type of prayer tonight.  From the singing of hymns to hearing people cry out to God for an answer their requests to hearing people praise God for His attributes and benefits, I was extremely blessed.

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5 responses

  1. enenennx

    I enjoy the idea that you assert this prayer is suggesting: that prayer in community has benefits. I’m just not certain those benefits are godly, or are instead indulgent. (It is inarguable that one can create the good warm feelings of group prayer through multiple mechanisms and other group activities.)

    In the verses that immediately precede the Lord’s Prayer, he states both that people shouldn’t pray hypocritically (insincerely and drawing attention to oneself) and that they should pray in secret and in solitude in one’s closet with the door shut. The gathering to pray specifically violates JC’s prescription.

    These clear specific instructions, along with the plural (“Our”, “us”), perhaps suggest more that one’s prayers should be inclusive and not necessarily personal. We are to pray for what benefits our bretheren as much as for what benefits us personally.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:55 pm

  2. enenennx – I appreciate the final paragraph and explanation of how you see the Lord’s prayer fitting into what Jesus had said immediately preceding the context. That’s very insightful. I think you’re right in what you say, and I don’t think that necessitates the exclusion of people praying together since Jesus was forbidding the arrogant attitudes of some of the people simply wanting attention in their prayers. They got their praise. They got their “reward.”

    Also, I would agree that you can gain many feelings from different exercises and I do not endorse a mindset that says that feelings justify an action. However, I do think that you can have great feelings come from great actions.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:51 pm

  3. enenennx

    Yes, as you say Jesus was commenting on some of the showy attitudes of public prayer, but he was specifically also commenting on a different group as well. Jesus specifically says when “you” pray (speaking to his disciples), pray in secret. It is a clear instruction. Granted this verse is in contention with other bible verses, that doesn’t mean this verse and proscription doesn’t exist. It actually goes along with his words on almsgiving and fasting in Chapter 6. Don’t been seen doing it (particularly with this prayer). Unfortunately what we have in a lost of churches is just not really doing the fasting and almsgiving (giving to your church to support a pastor is not almsgiving) and violating the prayer proscription in this verse.

    August 5, 2011 at 1:56 am

  4. So, if the you is plural, then would you say that Jesus is still necessitating that individuals have to pray apart from a group? In other words, if Jesus says (in a more literal way of translating the plural “you”) “When you all pray. . .” he is basically saying, there are times when you all seek God together. And, when you do that, do not seek the approval of other people – seek God in “secret” – as opposed as publically to be seen by men. I think a group can pray secretively.

    August 5, 2011 at 8:05 am

  5. Properly said and with glorious timing

    August 30, 2011 at 6:33 am

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