FEB. 23. LENT. WK. 1. TUES. MT. 6. 7-15
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So, you should pray like this:
‘Our Father in heaven,
may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we have forgiven those
who are in debt to us.
And do not put us to the test,
but save us from the evil one!
‘Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.’
The outstanding characteristic of this prayer taught to us by Christ is its simplicity, with its foundation being Trust in the Father’s Paternal Love for his creatures!
“Do not use too many words”; - being the first point made; - and the second point of the teaching is just as important; - “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him!”
Both of these points are worthy of much greater consideration when it comes to learning how to pray, as Christ is teachings us here the essentials of prayer; - and these two characteristics are easily forgotten or overlooked.
Our prayer needs to be built on Trust in the Father’s Love, with the primary focus being on his Love, rather than on our words, sentiments or desires.
This same message is being conveyed when Christ teaches us to refer to God as “Father”, rather than “God”, with the word Father being intimately associated, on earth, with parental Love, and the absence of any fear, doubt or hesitation.
Another central focus within this prayer and teaching is the emphasis put on the Will of God; - rather than on our requests or desires; - a further point easily overlooked! “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth,” involves removing the focus from “what I desire, or what I am seeking,” and placing it, instead, on “What God wants” for us!
One of the most beautiful aspects of this teaching is then found in the phase, “Give us today our daily bread”; - where we ask our loving Father to provide us with what he sees as our needs; - rather than on what we believe those needs to be; - an important point if prayer is to be built on Trust in the Father’s Love!
And the final teaching within the prayer is a need to seek forgiveness for our failings, but in asking this favour a condition is attached namely ‘we must first forgive the failings of others’!