WEEK FOUR: Prayer
DAY 5: Cat Got Your Tongue? (The Lord’s Prayer)
Who is a famous person that you wish you could meet? Often, when the occasion arises and we have an opportunity to actually meet someone who is famous, we find ourselves at a loss for words. I remember when my brothers and I were kids, we had an opportunity to meet one of the Chicago Blackhawks’ hockey players. My brother Ron, nervous as anything, went up to him and asked, “Would you like to have my autograph?” 🙂
When Jesus reveals the Father to us, we may not be sure of what to say or how to talk with him. Luckily, Jesus gave us some very specific suggestions on how we can talk to God, our Father – the Lord’s Prayer.
Does this mean that we can’t talk to God our Father in our own words? Of course not. We talk with our friends about everyday life experiences: ups and downs, successes and failures, plans, dreams, hopes, frustrations, and so on. One of the greatest teachers of prayer, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, encouraged his followers to pray to God as one friend talking to another. We can and should pray to God in this way. However, when we cannot find our own words to pray, or if we want to pray together with someone else, we can turn to the words that Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer.
In this prayer, we begin by addressing God in an intimate manner (Our Father, or Abba, Papa) and praise his glorious presence (who art in heaven). We then pray seven petitions:
- 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.
I like to think of these seven petitions as evidence that this prayer can be thought of as our Declaration of DEpendence! By asking our Father for these seven things, we are admitting that we are totally dependent upon him for the most important things in life.
What a gift to be able to pray in the very words that Jesus himself gave us.
Reflection Questions: Choose one of the following questions and share your thoughts with your fellow retreatants by adding your comments in the comments box below this post.
- When was a time in your life when you found it difficult to pray?
- When was a time in your life when praying the Lord’s Prayer was especially meaningful for you?
- What does it mean to say that the Lord’s Prayer is our own declaration of DEpendence?
- Why are we encouraged to pray the Lord’s Prayer with confidence?
Lord, Jesus, thank you for teaching me to pray. Holy Spirit, guide me and help me to pray without ceasing. Our Father, who art in heaven…
- God Wants Our Friendship
- Petition as a Way of Life
- The Lord’s Prayer
- The Lord’s Prayer (The Our Father)
- Guided Reflection: The Lord’s Prayer
CCC References: 2759 – 2865
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I hope you’ve enjoyed our online summer retreat, Preparing for a Year of Faith! Learn more about the Year of Faith. Watch a brief video explaining what this online retreat is all about.
When was a time in your life when praying the Lord’s Prayer was especially meaningful for you?
My sister in law was having difficulty after delivering her first child and was unresponsive. In the hospital waiting room our family gathered in a prayer circle, held hands, and prayed to God for her healing and ended with reciting the Lord’s Prayer. This moment was especially meaningful because we felt God’s presence with us. God answered our prayers and my sister in law recovered.
When my twin brother died was a time when I found the Lord’s prayer especially meaningful for me, it was very difficult to let go of him but – thy will be done – my prayers to the Lord got me through a very difficult time.
I find it difficult to pray when I am personally involved in turbulance, at this time I always turn to others to either pray for me or help me pray so that I can get my words and thoughts across. In times like these, I find that the Lord’s Prayer is the only prayer that comes to mind and attache myself to this prayer and stay steadfast in the belief that this is the only prayer that will answer my concerns. When I pray the Lord’s Prayer I feel completely surrounded by God and that He is truly within me, we are one.
In February of 2010, I was RIF’d from my teaching position. Although I’d been teaching for 17 years, I was fairly new to that school, so I held no seniority. Even with that said, the RIF process was not done in an honest manner. I MADE myself go to church, knowing that one day it would help. I fought back (unsuccessfully) tears every Sunday as I tried to listen to the homily. After having a chat with my pastor, I wouldn’t go back to see him because I didn’t want to bother him. So that sly man spoke to me through his homilies. I cried during every single one, but his message got through to me. He didn’t speak to me directly, of course, but he always through in “like when you lose your job”. I’m glad that I knew I needed to be sitting in church, even though I couldn’t figure out WHAT to say to God. I robotically prayed my memorized prayers like a good girl and eventually I started feeling them again. I guess I just proved why the memorized prayers are so good…when you can’t find the right words, they’re always there.
When we say that the Lord’s Prayer is our own declaration of DEpendence we are saying that we are praying for all our needs. We can be confident that we are using the right words because these are the words Jesus gave us. Every word in the Lord’s Prayer is what we need to say. This prayer covers everything that we need to get us through every single day. When we are having a difficult time praying looking for the right words to say all we have to do is remember the words that Jesus taught us.
The Lord’s Prayer becomes more meaningful to me each day. When I wake up I begin my day with a simple, “Thank you, Lord, for another new day”. Then after taking care of the essentials – dressing, brushing, etc. I like to do an Our Father slowly and concentrate on “forgive my trespasses as I forgive others”. This helps me to focus on sharing the Lord’s love and peace during the day with those I meet. I wish I could say I always do as I should, but it helps me to try. Thank you, Jesus, for sharing this very special prayer!!