Jesus said to his disciples: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
“This is how you are to pray:
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed by thy name,
Thy Kingdom come,
They 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;
As lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.”
“If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
Friends, the Gospel for today is of great significance, for in it the Son of God teaches us to pray. We hear from not just a guru, a spiritual teacher, or a religious genius, but from the very Son of God. This is why the Our Father, the Lord’s Prayer, is the model of all prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer is the prayer for the Christian journey that has been offered up consistently for the past two thousand years. Think for a moment how this prayer links us to all of the great figured in Christian history, from Peter and Paul to Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Francis of Assisi, John Henry Newman, G.K. Chesterton, John Paul II, and right up to the present day.
Keep in mind that prayer is not designed to change God’s mind or to tell God something he doesn’t know. God isn’t like a big city boss or a reluctant pasha whom we have to persuade. Rather, he is the one who wants nothing other than to give us good things – though they might not always be the things we want.
Reflect: Pray the Lord’s prayer slowly. What word or phrase stands out? Meditate on that word or phrase as an additional prayer.