REFLECTION FOR TODAY
October 6, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1
Jesus spent most time in prayer with the Father, so it is not surprise on this day while He had finished praying the disciples made a request of him to teach them how to pray. In their request, Jesus saw in them the desire to be connected in a special way to the Father. Do we today as Christians have that desire to be connected to the Father. Let us life our hearts to our Father and ask Him to give us the desire to come to Him and to sanctify His name as we worship, honor, and thank Him.
The “Our Father” prayer Jesus taught his disciple is a great prayer and a great way to be connected to God as our Father. Saint Andre Bessette said, “When you say the Our Father, God’s ear is next to your lips.” Saint Teresa of Ávila said, “Much more is accomplished by a single word of the Our Father said, now and then, from our heart, than by the whole prayer repeated many times in haste and without attention.” And Saint Thérèse of Lisieux said that the “Our Father” prayer was one of the prayers she prayed when she felt so spiritually barren that she could not summon up a single worthwhile thought.
At the Holy Mass, when the priest invites the people of God to pray the “Our Father,” he says, in part, that this prayer is one that “…we dare to say.” This is an interesting statement which especially reveals the childlike boldness we are called to have as we pray this prayer sincerely from the heart. It is exceptionally bold to call God our “Father.”
A lot is contained in the “Our Father” prayer. In this prayer we learn to ask God to rule and guide us in establishing His kingdom within our hearts. When this is done, we yield to the authority of the Father, and we long for the full revelation of His kingdom when Jesus comes again in glory.
In the “Our Father” prayer, we come before our Father with contrite hearts, seeking his forgiveness. It pleases God to forgive us when we forgive those who have hurt us. In this prayer we also learn to rely on our heavenly Father for the bread we need. As we come to Him humble and needy, He can transform us from our self-centered people to Christ-centered people, from lovers of self to lovers of neighbors.
Since we are very familiar with the “Our Father” prayer, there is a temptation to pray this prayer in a somewhat rote way. We can easily fail to say it from the depths of our hearts, making each word our own, offered with the utmost confidence to our loving Father in Heaven. How do you pray the Lord’s Prayer? Do you pray it out of habit, failing to fully comprehend and mean the words you pray? Most likely this is the case for many.
Reflect, today, upon this most holy prayer given to us by the Son of God Himself. He is the author of this perfect prayer, so we should use it as the foundation of all our prayer. Take each word of that prayer and pray it slowly, intentionally and with love. Begin by acknowledging God as your Father. Ponder the infinite care He has for you as a perfect father would. See Him in a real, intimate, and personal way. This perfect prayer begins by acknowledging Who God is and then continues with seven perfect petitions. After praying the introduction to this prayer, pick one of the seven petitions to meditate upon so that the richness of this prayer will have a transformative effect upon your soul.
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. Jesus, I trust in You.