Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How do we pray?


"Lord teach us to pray..." - Luke 11:1

A Reading from the Gospel according to Matthew.

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 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.

“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.”

I always have difficulty praying this prayer, the Our Father. I say it all the time. Every mass, every rosary, regular prayers, I pretty much say it everyday. We as Catholics say it everyday, let me say that again. WE SAY IT EVERYDAY.

Why do I stress this point?

St. Thomas Aquinas, as usual, puts it best:

"The Lord's Prayer is the most perfect of prayers. . . . In it we ask, not only for all the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired. This prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also in what order we should desire them."

This prayer is a double-edge sword, it can be our most liberating prayer we can say which can help us to never lose focus and deepen our relationship with God; or it can be the nail in our coffin.

"As WE forgive others..." I once heard a priest say at a teen mass say, "How does the 'Our Father' go? Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be my name. My Kingdom come, my will be done, on earth and forget about heaven. Right isn't that what say?" Everyone said no Father. He continued, "But isn't that what we mean though."

Do we really think God is our Father? Or that He is sacred and holy? Or that we want His will be done NOT ours? When we plan things out and ask God to make them happen, how can we say we really want His will to be done? Or is it that we HOPE His will ALIGNS with OURS? I was so inspired by this homily that I decided to finish "The World's Prayer":

our father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be My name,
My Kingdom come,
My will be done,
on earth and forget about heaven.
Give Me this day whatever I want;
and justify My trespasses,
as I hold against them, those whom got in My way;
and lead Me into temptation,
but deliver Me from Guilt. Amen.

It is such a difficult prayer that I wish we could preface it by saying: "Lord please make this my prayer!"

Be careful what you pray for, you might actually get it!

Pray well! Seriously, pray well!

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