I think at times we all feel lonely. Maybe it’s because we’re away from family or close friends have moved away. Maybe a relationship ended and it seems like everyone besides you has found someone to love and be happy with. Perhaps, a close friend or family member has died leaving you feeling lonely. Or maybe it just feels like you can’t make friends or keep them.
That feeling of being all alone comes and it strikes fast and it hits hard. When you’re alone at night, laying in your bed, or even when you’re surrounded by people, loneliness strikes. I’m not sure if there is any great way to stop it. If there is I haven’t found it yet. But there is comfort. Comfort in the Liturgy, prayer, and the Word.
When loneliness strikes pray those words that you’ve known since you were a little child:
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;
give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever.
Our! Us! We! When Jesus tell his disciples to pray like that he tells them to do it in their room, with their door closed… in secret.
So in your room, with the door closed when you’re all alone pray, “Our Father.” You’re in your room all by yourself and praying with plural pronouns? That’s pretty weird isn’t it?
Or it’s a great comfort! Because even though you feel alone, you aren’t. You join in praying with the Church. “Our Father, give us, deliver us!” You’re praying for your brothers and sisters too! You’re praying for those who can’t find the words to pray. You’re praying for those who are sleeping on the other side that they too may be forgiven and delivered from evil. Which means they are also praying for you when you can’t find the words to pray or while you are sleeping. I take great comfort in that.
Compline and the Litany do this too (and a host of other parts of our hymnal). “The Lord almighty grant us a quiet night and peace at the last.” “Hear us, help us, save us.” They use plural pronouns because the Church is praying them with you and Jesus is praying them on your behalf. You are in Christ. Your baptism tells you that. His words are your words.
So, when the loneliness strikes and you feel like you’ll never not be alone again, there are those words, “Our Father…” Not just you, but the whole church praying with you and for you. More importantly your Savior who knows what it feels like to be lonely is praying these words, for you and with you. “Our Father…”
That’s pretty comforting, if you ask me.