“This is how you are to pray:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Matthew 6: 9-13
“Prayer is the fruit of silence.” St. Teresa of Calcutta
What should we pray and how? The bible says we don’t know how to pray. I don’t know about you, but I find it very hard to pray. It is the one thing for me that I struggle with- a routine of strong and heart felt daily prayers.
There are many things that I love about our Lord, but one that calls to me today is simplicity. The teachings of Christ are not complicated to understand. In fact, it is the draw of their simplicity that helps guide and inform the faithful.
My prayer life has deeply evolved. I used to think that I had to pray out loud and those prayers had to be associated with prayers read for that day. I then evolved into understanding free-form prayer. As a Jewish person, I felt free when I learned how to pray this way, whatever words came to my heart and lips. I prayed this way for a long while as God knew that I needed it.
When I became a Catholic, I immediately learned how to pray the rosary. This provided me the structure I missed and craved. I felt my prayer life had sort of gone off the rails, and I needed the repetition and given words to bring me back. When that became very repetitious and unmeaning, I took a step back to evaluate what and how I needed to pray. That is what I am discovering this Lent.
Have you ever felt that way? Your prayers are just words and not a song. They are there but meaningless.
It is hard to admit out loud, but if we do that and repent, God will hear us and open our minds and hearts to something much greater. A prayer life chosen by Him, with the words that He provides.
Let’s go back to simple
The Our Father provides the structure and all of the words we need. The problem is, that we say it quickly, and do not stop to pause and reflect on each phrase.
If this is how Jesus tells us to pray, why are we not listening?
The Our Father provides the framework for our souls and the food for our needs.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name- A reverence to God. Stop and pause, listen. We can sit here with these words, sit and praise the name of the one who created us. Your name is great Lord and greatly to be praised. You have the name above all names. Your name is powerful. Your name is healer.
thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it in heaven- This part of the prayer reminds us that what we are asking for must be aligned with God’s will. Lord, I only want what you want, I only desire what you desire. Take out my own selfish desires and replace them with yours so that I can pray in accordance with your will. I want your will only to reign in my soul!
Give us this day our daily bread- give me only what I need today. Help me to focus on today. Help me live in today Lord; moment to moment let me be present for my family, co-workers and friends. Let me not be busy but instead be fruitful. Fill my day with the things that I need to save my soul and lead others to you.
and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us– Forgive me Lord. Forgive me for wanting my own selfish desires. Forgive me for not loving enough. Forgive me for not forgiving. I know Lord that as I ask for forgiveness and you grant it, that I also must forgive those who hurt me. I do that now Lord in full confidence that when I forgive others, you will help ease the hurt and pain. You will honor my obedience.
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil- Lord protect me. When I have hit my limit, do not let me be tested beyond what I can bear. Provide me a way out when I have passed your test, when I have learned the lesson that it is meant to teach. I do not want to repeat lessons, but learn the new ones that you have for me.
I challenge you to to pray the Our Father every morning during Lent. But don’t just pray it and leave it, pray it and listen. Pray it slowly and reverently.
Take Notes, pause in the places that the Holy Spirit tells you to; hear what God has to say.
Create a rhythm of prayer that soothes you and pleases God. By starting small and in simplicity, the complications of life will melt away. You do have to go on and on. Simply listen to the Master and create your foundation of prayer.