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.”
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 afterward do we begin to petition for daily care, forgiveness, and safety.
- Holy be your name: In praying this, we announce that we want God’s name to be glorified and not our names.
- Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.“ Not my will, but Thy will be done?” When it comes to our own lives, we want our own will to be done. God’s will for our lives usually looks much less enjoyable than our plans for our own life.
- Give us this day our daily bread. Daily bread means “enough food for today.” But who wants that? I need just what is more than enough.
- And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Of course, we want God to forgive us, but are you ready to forgive the person who has wronged you?
- Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. God doesn’t actually lead anyone into temptation. This probably means something closer to “Help us resist temptation when it comes.” But regardless, we don’t really mean it. We don’t want God to point them out to us, nor do we want to get rid of them.
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.
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 loving Father give good and helpful gifts to us his children.
Misconceptions about Prayer:
- Prayer is not a matter of beautiful words/language.
- It is not a perfect English nor Tagalog
- In prayer, we are not making a SONA (State of the Nation Address)
- Prayer is not a reflection paper… NOT A THESIS PROPOSAL
- What is needed is simplicity of words and sincerity of heart.
- According to St. Theresa: it is not thinking much but loving much.
A story is told of a farmer who never starts his work in the field without first saying a prayer. But he has to rely on his old prayer book since he has never memorized his one and only favorite prayer. And he knows no other prayer except the one printed in the prayer book. He went one day to the field forgetting to bring along with him his prayer book. The problem—he could not start his work without praying and the prayer book was not with him. Finally, he decided to recite the 26 letters of the alphabet 4 times and told the Lord, “I have recited the alphabet now please arrange them and that is my prayer.” The Lord was happy with that simple yet honest prayer – what a beautiful prayer because it comes from a sincere heart.
3. Prayer is not a matter of feeling good.
Sometimes, we pray only during our peak moments/experiences, when things are fine. 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. If you want to quarrel with God, then quarrel with God.
Let me tell you a story of a woman went to the tabernacle and knock at it and said “Lord, nandyan ka ba? sumagot ka naman?” And of a young man who doubted the presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament: He crawled to the Blessed Sacrament shook the monstrance and said: “If you are there speak to me!”
3. Three answers to prayers: God answers all our prayers. And His answer to our prayers could either be YES, NO, or WAIT.
Posted in a corner of a prayer room:
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.
4. According to St. Theresa, prayer is simple, sincere and leads to action. Prayer is not thinking much but loving much.
A story is told of a shoemaker who had no time to pray… he repairs the shoes of people who had only one pair of shoes. He sighs: “Lord if I could only have the time to pray and the Lord says to him: “Your sighs are worth more than your prayers.”
-And here’s how a friend of mine prays: “Before I work I look at the Lord and Jesus looks at me!
Prayer, therefore, should be SIMPLE, SINCERE and should always lead to ACTION. And equally important: No Hidden Agenda in your prayer, please!
Let us strive that as we pray the Lord’s prayer, it may yield new life in us and that our journey may open for us many opportunities to experience God in our lives as our ABBA.