The Communal Nature of the Lord’s Prayer

This coming Sunday is the 17th Sunday in Lectionary Cycle C. In yesterday’s post we looked at the immediate and broader context for the Lukan teaching about prayer – in this passage most widely noted as “the Lord’s Prayer.”

The context for the Lord’s Prayer in Luke and Matthew (6:5-15) are quite different. Matthew is writing for Jewish Christians that share a common heritage of prayer.  Thus Jesus simply begins: “But when you pray…” They seem to know how to pray and the importance of prayer, but they need further clarification about prayer – especially vis-à-vis the temple and synagogue exemplar and the pagans. In Luke, the audience, (including the disciples,) don’t know how to pray (at least as Jesus’ followers). The disciples (and Luke’s readers?) ask Jesus to teach them to pray – and this seems to be in distinction from John the Baptist’s disciples (v.1). This introduction also suggests that we are defined by our prayers. Continue reading