The last few weeks at New City I’ve been preaching through The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6. One of the things which struck me was the communal nature of this prayer from Jesus. It’s “our Father”, “our daily bread” and “our debts”. This is not a personal prayer. It’s designed to be prayed in community.
Since August, I’ve also been preaching at the St. Michael’s Church of England congregation on the White City Estate in Shepherd’s Bush about once a month as they are without a permanent vicar. One of my favorite parts of their service is the reciting of The Lord’s Prayer which they do each week while holding hands. The touch of the elderly Jamaican lady or the young Nigerian child next to me is a physical reminder that we praying to OUR Father.
He’s ours together as one family of God. And because there is one Father, we are united by faith across our theological, cultural, national and racial identities. As we come to our God together, he slowly, but surely binds people together by his Spirit into the church for his purposes.
At New City IPC, we are seeing this as we pray together, serve together and live life together. We’re not there yet (and we’ll never be this side of heaven) but we are seeing little displays of the unity God brings. Two weeks ago, we even copied the pattern of prayer from our brothers and sisters at St. Michael’s and joined hands together to call upon our Father.
Unity in prayer. Unity in life. This is the normal pattern Jesus sets for us.
May it be as true in our lives as it is in our prayers.