There are two versions of the Lord's Prayer found in Sacred Scripture. Our Church uses the version from St. Matthew's Gospel (Mt. 6: 9-13) in its liturgical prayer. This Sunday's Gospel recalls the other shorter version given by St. Luke (Lk. 11: 2-4).
Too often we can get into a rut when reciting prayers from memory. We might just say the words without thinking about some of the things that we actually pray. Additionally, we might not even focus on the actual person (God) who is the recipient of our prayer.
I share with you today a brief reflection on the Our Father coming from my own prayer time. What might your own thoughts be as you prayerfully reflect on the words and the Person to whom you are praying? Prayer is very much about a relationship with God and not just about saying words. Prayer involves a two-way communication: speaking and listening. What does God say to you and me as we listen for Him in our minds and in our hearts?
Our—All creation, all living beings and inanimate objects, exist because of God and His creative power. Absolutely everything!
Father—We are God’s children by adoption, because of our baptism into Christ Jesus, with the privilege of calling God “Father.“ It was Jesus who taught us that God is Abba—Father.
Who art in heaven—What exactly is heaven like? “. . . Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard and [it] has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor. 2:9)
Hallowed be Thy name—God is holy. His name needs to be reverenced and respected. Hopefully I never use His name in vain or carelessly.
Thy kingdom come—Jesus announced the Kingdom of God is at hand (see Mk. 1:15). He ushered in the reign of God. What am I doing to build up the Kingdom of God here on earth?
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven—In the end God’s will is going to be accomplished. Do I truly turn my will over to the will of God each day? Do I foolishly think I am in control and not God?
Give us this day our daily bread—I know that I am sustained by God each day and, more importantly, I have the privilege of receiving Jesus, the Bread of Life, at Mass each day. The Holy Eucharist is our food for eternal life. “. . . Unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood you do not have life in you.”(Jn. 6:53) The Greek word used in both versions of the Lord's Prayer is absolutely unique when describing this bread: epiousios. It literally means super-substantial. The prayer asks for something much more than ordinary bread. Do I truly believe in Jesus' Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist?
Forgive us our trespasses—Lord, have mercy on me a sinner. Do I realize the power of God’s mercy in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation (confession) on a regular basis? Do I humble myself and admit my sins, admit that I am wrong?
As we forgive those who trespass against us—God has forgiven me so many times. Do I also extend His mercy and forgiveness to others?
Lead us not into temptation—Lord, there are just so many things in our world that are tempting us to choose them instead of You. I remember the words of St. Augustine—our hearts are restless until they rest in You. Let me never give into a temptation by choosing a passing, temporary satisfaction instead of Your unfathomable, unending love.
Deliver us from evil—Every day I am confronted with the evils of the world including war, terrorism, prejudice, poverty, injustice, and too many sins to think about. Evil exists as does the evil one—Satan. Lord, save me and keep me and all your beloved children, especially my parishioners, other loved ones and my own family, from all evil.
What might you add to this reflection?
Fr. Ed Namiotka