Friday, 7 October 2011

Teach us to Pray: Our Father

The disciples of Jesus noticed that Jesus used to pray often. Sometimes Jesus would pray right through the night. So, one day, when Jesus had finished praying, his disciples asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray.[1] Jesus responds and teaches his disciples the prayer that we Catholics know so well, the “Our Father”.

Pray then like this: 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 debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.[2]

When God revealed himself to Moses, God did not reveal himself as “Father” but by a different name. It is only our Lord Jesus, the Son of God, who reveals God to us as our “Father”.

Jesus uses the word “Father” to inspire in us a sense of love and confidence in God. The word Father indicates the existence of a loving, tender and affectionate relationship between God and us. These words “Our Father” should remind us that God is always with us and that we are his children[3]. He is interested in every single one of our needs and problems. He wants to share our entire life.

We should not fall into the trap of thinking that God is only interested in matters pertaining to our life after death and that God doesn’t want to be bothered with the ordinary everyday worldly matters that we face. Instead, we should confidently speak often with our Father about every single little part of our life. Develop the habit of praying, throughout each day, by speaking quietly to God. It is not necessary to be kneeling in Church to pray. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, speak quietly to God your Father.

-       “Good morning, Father” as you wake up.
-       “Father give me patience in this traffic.”
-       “Father, this person irritates me. Help me to be patient and helpful.”
-       “Father, I am about to begin studying. Please help me to concentrate and learn all that I need to learn.”
-       “Father, thank you for the blessing of having a job.”
-       “Father, thank you for giving me such special friends.”
-       “Father, thank you for reminding me that you love me.”
-       “Father, I don’t know how I am going find the money to pay all the bills this month. I am really worried.”

The term Father should remind us constantly that our relationship with God is a very special close relationship. It should lead us to live every moment of our lives as his sons and daughters. Sharing with him. Loving him.

The piety which is born of divine filiation is a profound attitude of the soul which eventually permeates one's entire existence. It is there in every thought, every desire, every affection.[4]

[1] Luke 11: 1
[2] Matthew 6: 9 – 13
[3] Romans 8: 15
[4] Escrivá J, Friends of God, 146

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