St Luke has his own way of presenting The Lord’s Prayer. He puts it in the context of friendship. He takes it completely for granted that everyone knows what the experience of friendship is. Most are only expected to live it not to define it! The loneliest people in the world are those without friends. St. Luke’s presentation of friendship in illustrating the Our Father is so realistic. You expect your friends to help you out in difficulties even though the demands are sometimes awkward. A true friend is one to whom you can tell most things and they will accept you anyway. Having a friend is seeing things in the same way with that person, sharing things through thick and thin.
Luke’s Our Father
That is how St. Luke wants us to think of the Our Father. He has the shorter version of it. Just five petitions. Matthew has seven. Rather like the Beatitudes in The Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain where Luke has four blessings and four woes and Matthew has nine blessings. Luke tends to be very realistic, describing things just as they are. When we pray alone, and nobody is listening to us, that is when we are truly realistic about our needs our hopes and our failures. When people ask us to pray for them, they normally do so with the utmost sincerity. When people are sick and in danger, and under pressure and take us into their confidence to pray for them that is when life is being lived at its sincerest.
We recall Jesus decrying those who make a public show of their prayers. He advised us to go into our room and close the door and pray to our heavenly Father in secret. Truth and sincerity are here attested. I am the way and the truth and the life (Jn 14:6). In the following of Jesus one does the truth. It is not just a case of the right words. It is having the right stance towards life, following his way in our deportment.
The Our Father expresses this powerfully. The prayer expresses total dependence on God. This is pure realism.
Rev Richard J. Taylor
Boarbank Hall, Cumbria, UK