Pray then in this way: ‘Our Father who art in heaven…’ (Mt. 6:8)
This was the first prayer I learned. I have said it at funerals, weddings, while giving Last Rites, and in my daily prayers. I have also said it when I didn’t know how else to pray—either when my heart was so empty or so full that no other words came.
There are times when I begin saying the Our Father prayer and don’t get beyond the first two words. I stop because the words are so astounding. In this prayer Jesus is telling us that God is our Father—a Father who created, cares, forgives us, and a Father who sent Jesus to bring us home. In this prayer Jesus is also saying that He’s our brother since we share the same Father.
Every time we say this prayer Jesus is praying with us. When we don’t bring much focus or desire when we say the prayer, we can trust Jesus to make up the difference. As soon as we begin saying, “Our Father,” Jesus joins us as our prayer partner.
What kind of prayer partner is Jesus? He joins us when we are lonely. He lifts us up when we fall. He encourages us when we falter. He cheers for us when we are living strong. He inspires us when we are flat. He forgives us when we hurt others or ourselves. What a prayer partner we have in Jesus.
The next time you pray the Our Father, I encourage you to trust that Jesus is at your side. If you are having a bad day, lean into His love. If you are having a fabulous day, know that Jesus rejoices. As Jesus joins you in praying to the Father together, He weeps when you weep, laughs when you laugh, and delights to be praying with you.
If I think about praying to God by myself, I can feel overwhelmed and inadequate. But when I say the Our Father and remember that Jesus is with me, I pray with a strength and peace I never have on my own.
Shall we pray with Jesus? “Our Father…”
- Have you ever thought about Jesus joining you every time you say the “Our Father” prayer? If not, today’s a good time to start.
- Does having Jesus as your prayer partner change how you think about and experience your praying? If so, how?
- As you say the Lord’s Prayer, is there a word or phrase that invites you to pause and explore? If so, will you give yourself permission to do just that?