Made for Community

We were never intended to go it alone in the Christian life. We were made for community. There are some things we can only learn in community with others. Words like grace, forgiveness and love have meaning only in a context of relationship with others.

The Lord’s prayer teaches us that we are meant to pray with other believers. The personal pronouns in the prayer are plural. The first person singular (I, me, my) is completely absent from the prayer. “Our Father” has meaning only when expressed in fellowship with others. Community is part of an essential theology of prayer.

Albert Mohler, in his book on the Lord’s prayer, The Prayer that Turned the World Upside Down, wrote, “One of the greatest problems in prayer is that we begin with our own concerns and our own petitions without regard for our brothers and sisters. Many of us falter in prayer because we begin with the wrong word: ‘I,’ instead of ‘our.’ Jesus reminds us that we are part of a family, even when we pray . . . we are in this together.”

Tish Harrison Warner, in Liturgy of the Ordinary, wrote, “Jesus sent his Spirit to a people. The preservation of our faith and the endurance of the saints . . . is a promise that God will redeem and preserve his church — a people, a community, an organism, an institution — generation after generation, and that even the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”

Paul knew that. That is why he wrote, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership (fellowship, community) in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-4).

Paul was in a helpless situation. He was a prisoner in Rome, not knowing if he would survive or be martyred. He was separated from his friends in Philippi. Fortunately he was not alone. He had a friend from Philippi, Epaphroditus, there with him to assure him of the ongoing concern of the community of faith.

Do you have a church family to surround you with concern and prayers when you are in need? Are you invested enough in the lives of other Christians so that you pray for them? The Christian life was not intended to be lived in isolation. We were made for community.

Pastor Randy Faulkner