February 09, 2021

When Y’all Pray

Luke 11:1-4

“When you pray, say . . .”

—  Luke 11:2

One thing I enjoyed about living in Alabama some years ago was the usefulness and appeal of saying “y’all.” This is just a contraction of the phrase “you all,” and it works well when you’re talking to more than one person at once. It also reminds me of something important about the Lord’s Prayer.

When one of his disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray,” Jesus gave them the “Lord’s Prayer” as a magnificent template for prayer to their Father in heaven. And he introduced it by saying (with the plural form of you), “When you [all] pray . . .” So even though the Lord’s Prayer can be a deeply personal prayer, it’s chiefly a prayer that Jesus taught his followers to say together.

Since the earliest days of the church, Christians have used the Lord’s Prayer for worship and prayer. After all, Jesus has taught us these words, and they capture the essence of Jesus’ gospel: God, the maker of heaven and earth, loves us and wants to provide for our every physical and spiritual need.

When we say these words alone or together, they should remind us that God loves us. They should remind us that we stand not alone but as Christ’s body around the world, saying the same prayer in many different languages. And yet, with one voice, we recite Jesus’ words and celebrate God’s love and care for us always. So, when y’all pray today, give thanks for this prayer Jesus has given to us.

Lord, you have taught us to pray; help us to keep praying together in all situations, for your sake. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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