Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Finding Comfort as a Family

By Claire Alexander~Ezra Connection

Matthew 6:9 (King James Version)
King James Version (KJV)
Public Domain

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven . . .

As I opened the little British Daily Light first printed almost 200 years ago, I turned to the evening reading of Scripture, and read the opening thought of the Lord’s Prayer.

The plural pronoun “Our” leaped out at me. I sensed that my praying is not in isolation. I am not alone in addressing “my” Father. “Our Father,” on the other hand, implies that a family exists. There are offspring, and they are plural in number. “We” come together in unity; we speak jointly to our beloved Father.

Then my eyes caught the preceding word “ye” in the King James version—a pronoun that is also plural. Now, I remembered in French, that explaining the difference between the singular “tu” and the plural “vous” isn’t always easy, because “vous” can also be used in polite speech with a single adult. On the other hand, I recalled that in German, the polite form for you—“Sie”—comes in the third person plural, so the singular and plural words for “you” are distinct: “du” and “ihr.”

The Lord’s Prayer follows earlier instruction in Matthew 6 given to each of us individually, as though given to a child, using “tu” or “du” or “you singular”—go, and pray in your closet. Pray alone. Pray humbly. Then, the Lord seems to broaden that first instruction, and reminds the disciples that they are a team, a family, and that everything at the beginning of the chapter still applies, though wider circles are drawn. In fact, He might even be using the southern expression “you-all.”

Last night a fellow writer, dear to many of us, emailed that she had been called home from the cottage Thanksgiving Sunday night suddenly, but arrived only after her mother had passed away. The pain of missing the farewell, and of her mother’s dementia and earlier wish to reject God, and to hold no funeral, created a heavy burden for her—and I felt it in my heart.

Suddenly, I realized that just as my prayer was not alone, so her prayers were not in isolation, either. All her believing friends and fellow authors could surround her as her family—and together we could come to the only One who is the source of comfort, saying “Our Father.”

Tonight, then, Lord, we come to You as our Father, as Your own children, to uphold our dear ones in their need. We bless You that You are God—the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort. We pray that You would help us pass on the comfort You have given us in our times of need, and ask that You would be both “our” and “their” Rock and Hiding Place. Thank You for enfolding us all in Your all-encompassing arms!

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
New King James Version (NKJV)
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Comfort in Suffering

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

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