We or me, that is the question. That wasn’t Shakespeare’s question; it’s mine. When I pray, do I pray “we” or do I pray “me?” Do I ask God to use “my” church or “our” church? Do I pray for my country or our country? And for this nation, do I pray “we have sinned” or “I have sinned?” Well, this morning, as I often do, I prayed what many call the Lord’s Prayer. Yes, I pray the version recorded in the book of Matthew.
9 This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’Matthew 6:9–13 NIV
As often happens, I wavered with the words “us” and “we.” It was just me, in my office, alone. Of course, I prayed “us” and “we” as those are the thoughts of my Savior. Still, sometimes, I pray, “My Father” but I rewind and pray “Our Father.” The Lord’s Prayer is the Messiah’s prayer and the Messiah is Jesus, God with us1 – emphasis on “us”; It was the lips of God that taught us how to pray.
Christ Jesus’ prayer compels us to consider whether our struggles are personal or communal – is it “us” or “me.” There are many things in a Christian’s life that beg this question. When I am alone, am I truly alone?
We know that in all places, at all times, and in every situation, the “Spirit of Christ2” the “Spirit of God3” the ”Holy Spirit4“ is in us. But often desperate times come when no one else is around. In our personal, desperate times, do I pray ”we,“ or “me?”
Well, I have good news. All believers are corporately joined together. We are never alone. Each of us is part of the Body of Christ, “joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped5.” Perhaps, the most beautiful confirmation of our togetherness is this:
and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.Revelation 8:4 ESV
The prayers of the saints come up before God – let’s not put too fine of a point on who are “saints.” They – we – are like incense. We know that the smoke of each incense candle mingles with all the candles; missing one aroma changes the whole aroma. So, it is obvious from Scripture that we pray the “our” and “us” because we are part of the whole Body of Christ6, the sweet aroma that pleases God.
Be confident, even when physically isolated, that in the spirit, which is the true reality, you are connected to all other believers. After all, you were saved for a purpose7. And your purpose is intertwined with all Christians.