Reflecting on Our Individual and Communal Prayer Mini-Retreat: The Lord’s Prayer

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In preparation for the Jubilee Year 2025, Pope Francis has asked Catholics to prepare by dedicating time in 2024 to “promote initiatives to remind people of the centrality of both individual prayer and community prayer.” With that in mind, I invite you to the final part of our three-part mini-retreat devoted to reflecting on our individual and communal prayer. May your life of prayer be enriched and filled with abundant blessings!


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 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 specific suggestions for 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, and frustrations. One of the greatest teachers of prayer, St. 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?

Prayer

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…

Additional Reading

CCC References: 2759–2865

About Joe Paprocki 2739 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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