17th Sunday C

Our Father: A Model Prayer

        The gospel text for today offers us a model prayer or the Lord’s prayer as part of Jesus’ response to the disciples’ request: “Lord, teach us to pray”.

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       If we try to analyze the Lord’s  prayer, we see that Jesus offered a model for prayer which begins with God and not with ourselves. It begins with God’s name, God’s kingdom and God’s will. Many Christians have still to learn this. Only afterwards do we begin to petition for daily care, forgiveness and safety. Many Christians have still to learn this. Many of our prayers still sound like wish-list than prayers. When our prayer is more concerned with our desires than with God’s desires, it is not prayer, it is shopping. Of course God cares about our desires but there must be a sense of surrender in prayer that yields to God’s care and will.

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          After the Lord’s prayer, is the parable that illustrates the trust we can have in God. If a friend will get up in the middle of the night to provide for a persistent neighbor, how much more will God be willing to provide the needs of those who ask Him? If an earthly father will only give the good and helpful gifts to his children, how much more would our father give good and helpful gifts to us his children.

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Misconceptions about prayer:

1. Prayer is not a matter of beautiful words or language.   

            -It is not a perfect English nor Tagalog

            -When praying we are not making a SONA  (State of the Nation Address).

            -What is needed is simplicity of words and sincerity of heart.

Take note of the prayer of this farmer:

          When praying, a farmer relies solely on his prayer book. He does not know other prayers except the ones printed in the prayer book. He went one day to the field forgetting to bring along with him his prayer book. He could not start the day without praying-the problem, he did not bring his prayer book. So, he recited the letters of the alphabet 4 times and told the Lord, “I have recited the alphabet, now please arrange them and that is my prayer” …  and the Lord was happy with that simple, sincere and trusting prayer. What a beautiful prayer because it comes from a sincere heart!

2. Prayer is not a matter of feeling good.

            -We pray only during our peak moments/experience. One says that he does not want to pray because he is angry; but precisely you need to pray so that your anger will disappear. Some say that they do not want to pray because they feel unworhty of God; but precisely we need to pray so that we may be less unworthy of God’s love and mercy. According to St. Theresa, prayer sould be simple, sincere, so full of humility and that our prayer should lead to action.

3. God does not answer all our prayers.

God answers all our prayers—in His own time, in His own way, and in His own condition.

“If I do not answer your prayer at once,

It is because I am testing your faith.

If I do not answer your prayer at once,

It is because I am testing your patience.

If I do not answer your prayer,

It is because I have a better plan for you.”

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Frei Bo

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