Our Daily Prayer

Luke 11: 1-4
Jon 4:1-11 / Ps 86:3-6,9-10

Lord, teach us to pray…
(Luke 11:1)

Let our prayers be for others,
Not only for our own desires;
Trust all our needs to our Father
Who always listens, never tires.

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who sins against us. And do not subject us to the final test.’” (Luke 11:1-4)

Reflection

In the old days before the time of Jesus and the advent of the Holy Spirit, the Jews worshipped God by offering sacrifices, and usually, as a community. Only the Levites, the priestly clan of Israel, could lead or represent the people in prayer. It was only when John the Baptist, led by the Holy Spirit, came into the scene and taught his disciples how to pray that the hunger of the Jews for a more personal relationship with their God Yahweh was satisfied. As he baptized them in the river Jordan, they no longer felt that their God was a distant God, but a very personal one. One of the apostles of Jesus, a former follower of John, must have been ‘awakened’ to this novel form of worship, and so asked the Master, Whom they always witnessed in deep meditation, to further enlighten them about personal prayer.

Our Lord Jesus taught us in “The Lord’s Prayer” that the Father is a person, Who responds to our prayers according to the sincerity of our intentions. Nothing is too great or too little for His consideration. He loves to hear His children praying not because He desires to be adored, but because it pleases Him to see them growing in holiness through their prayers.

Too often we find it difficult to pray when our prayers become mechanical, a force of habit, or a routine that must be done with before we get on with the day’s work, sit down for a meal, or hit the sack at the end of the day. Let’s face it: we only get serious with our prayers when we are asking God for something. But God doesn’t mind that we remember Him only in need. As long as we have faith in His Divine Providence, and the answer to our prayers adds to our spiritual growth, He will fulfill our supplications. When our two grandsons (3 years old and 11 months then) were both sick, our daughter related their sleepless nights together. We told her that we would pray for the kids’ healing that night. And we did, quite fervently, asking the Father to please grant us our prayer for the boys’ healing. The next morning, our daughter called us to say that they all had a restful sleep and the two kids were both fine and no longer had any fever. I remembered then the words of St. Paul, who wrote that “in everything God works for the good of those who love Him” (Rom. 8:28) I believe our God is really a very loving personal Father. Jesus said, “If you who are sinful can give what your children asks for, how much more Your heavenly Father?” He will certainly give what we ask for as long as we surrender to His will.

The most important part of the Lord’s Prayer is: “Forgive us our sins”, because from the very start of His ministry, Jesus had always preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Just as we need to ask for our needs on a daily basis, we also need to pray continually for God’s forgiveness in order to draw ourselves farther away from our former sinful ways. But the road to perfection is not only in receiving God’s forgiveness, but also in forgiving everyone who sins against us. Our forgiveness must surely depend on our forgiving. “If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions” (Mt.6:14-15).

Heavenly Father, forgive us for the times when we doubted. Thank You for being so loving, patient and understanding, and for increasing our faith in You. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for teaching us how to pray. Through Your prayer, we have been drawn into a more personal relationship with Your Father, our Father. Amen.

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