Our Father: The Foundation of Prayer

I join Servants of Grace’s series Prayer with “Our Father”:

For many Christian’s prayer seems mysterious. We feel that there must be a secret key to unlock the powers of prayer. It seems so simple to say just talk to God like He is there. However, prayer is like Tolkien’s Doors of Dorin. In The Lord of the Rings, the fellowship sits at the door trying to make sense of the “riddle” scrawled across it.

“The words are in the elven-tongue of the West of Middle-earth in the Elder Days,’ answered Gandalf. ‘But they do not say anything of importance to us. They say only: The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria. Speak, friend, and enter.’ . . .

‘What does it mean by speak, friend, and enter?’ asked Merry.

‘That is plain enough,’ said Gimli. ‘If you are a friend, speak the password, and the doors will open, and you can enter.”

They sat long trying to come up with the secret word to open the door and then Gandalf realized:

“With a suddenness that startled them all the wizard sprang to his feet. He was laughing! ‘I have it!’ he cried. ‘Of course, of course! Absurdly simple, like most riddles when you see the answer.’

Picking up his staff he stood before the rock and said in a clear voice: Mellon! . . .

‘I was wrong after all,’ said Gandalf, ‘and Gimli too. Merry, of all people, was on the right track. The opening word was inscribed on the archway all the time! The translation should have been: Say “Friend” and enter. I had only to speak the Elvish word for friend and the doors opened. Quite simple. Too simple for a learned lore-master in these suspicious days. Those were happier times. Now let us go!”

How long will we sit at the door of communion with God seeking the secret to the door, when it has been in front of us the entire time? Jesus has already taught us to pray and the direct simplicity of His prayer is confounding to those who make prayer out to be some sort of Gnostic secret. In one the most memorable first lines, Jesus prays, “Our Father in heaven.”

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Mathew B. Sims is the author of A Household Gospel: Fulfilling the Great Commission in Our Homes and a contributor in Make, Mature, Multiply (GCD Books). He completed over forty hours of seminary work at Geneva Reformed Seminary. He also works as the managing editor at Gospel-Centered Discipleship and the assistant editor at CBMW Men’s Channel. He regularly writes for a variety of publications. Mathew offers freelance editing and book formatting. He is a member at Downtown Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC.