Reading: This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name… (Matthew 6:9).
Good morning, Happy Thursday, and many blessings my dear family.
In today’s Gospel (Matthew 6:7-15), Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray. He begins by telling them that words alone are not sufficient. I know well that I say prayers at times, yet I am not fully present to what I am doing. Yes, I am praying the words, but my mind may be miles away!
Prayer can take many forms. But at its heart it is a chat, a conversation, a mutual listening, a comfortable relationship. It is not gabbling my way through a few set formulae, but a loving encounter, as when two good friends meet up and share with one another about things that matter to them both.
In this passage there is a huge emphasis on forgiveness. One of the gifts of the prayers such as the Our Father or Our Mother is that I can pray them very easily. It is ingrained in my being. I learned this at a very young age when I most likely simply rattled them off. Yet, despite that, I still was praying, even if not at a deep level!
The gift is these formal prayers become part of us. The downside is that they may become “automatic.” However, even “automatic” prayer is still prayer if our intention is to pray. However, our minds wander, and we may not be fully present to God as we hoped to be. The challenge for us is to continually strive to be present when we say or pray these prayers. Thus, we may have to continually keep bringing our minds and hearts back to God.
Take a moment and ask yourself: at this time in your life, what words of the Our Father or Our Mother are most meaningful to you? What is your need, your desire?
Jesus truly was praying to His Father-Mother, whom He knew intimately. Today will we pray the Our Father as a prayer of love, of longing, of praise? Jesus knows us intimately and walks with us each and every day! Will we take a few minutes and consciously and deliberately pray this prayer to Him today? If so, we may find a great treasure as well as deep peace!
What does this prayer tell me about who God is? Which is my favorite phrase? Which do I have most difficulty with? Let that be my prayer. Talk with Jesus about how I am. ‘Thy kingdom come’? Can I dare to dream that God has s dream for me, for us? Talk to him about this. ‘Your will be done?’ Do I have a sense of being held in the hollow of God’s hand? When I am in difficulty, how quickly can I ‘involve’ God in my prayer?