Sometimes I wonder what the world would look like if no one prayed. And then, I thank God for all those who believe in the power of prayer and use it. Right this minute there are cloistered nuns and monks praying for you and for me. These men and women have dedicated themselves to a life of prayer and Adoration. Every hour of everyday a Mass is being celebrated somewhere in this world. Prayer, it is a beautiful wonder.
But, why and how should we pray?
Jesus prayed. And, He taught us the perfect petition, giving us the Lord’s Prayer. When we pray the Our Father we are praying with Jesus. We orient ourselves toward God, recognizing we are neither the center, nor the Creator of the universe. We beseech Him as brothers and sisters of Christ. It is our family prayer.
Our Father who art in heaven, reminds us that in this world we are in exile. We are seeking our homeland as we lift up our hearts and minds to our heavenly Father, who desires that we be united with Him in this life and life everlasting. Keeping it real, means our perspective should be eternal.
God, our Father, is mysterious and majestic. Holy is His name. (Luke 1:49) He is love and mercy, He desires our holiness and says “Be holy because I am holy” (1Peter 1:16). Let us pray that our hearts would be yearning to be made holy. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come reveals not only is God our King but we, as His children, are royalty. We didn’t choose God, He chose us. He calls us to follow Him. We are to live as Christ. For I was hungry, and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was naked and you clothed me…when we meet the needs of others from the love in our hearts, we are Christ made present on earth.
My prayer life often sounds a lot like me telling God what and how to fix up my life. I begin with a litany of complaints, wringing my worries out to Him. I think my current unpleasant situation would change if only I convince God to do things my way. Regardless, God receives my petitions. Though, I am awfully shortsighted. I am usually only looking as far down the road as tomorrow or next week or year. But, God is a Father that truly knows what is best for me, for us. His plan is always more reliable, if only I would follow it. He desires our eternal salvation more than we do. He is God, we are not. Let us pray that like Jesus, we would be obedient and surrender our will, choosing thy will be done.
When was the last time I begged God to transform me? When have I pleaded with God to conform my will to His? Am I offering God, God my Father, God in heaven praise and thanksgiving? Am I glorifying God in the way that I am living this life I have been given? I am weak and I am in need of the Holy Spirit to encourage and teach me to live in such a way the love of God is present on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. We need both material food and spiritual food to live. God generously provides us with exactly what we need, not always what we want. We need Jesus. We need to be Jesus, to make Him present on earth by being his hands and feet bringing food to the poor so that they may be filled. And, we need to seek Jesus. I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. (John 6:35) God through his only Son, Jesus Christ, has given us the bread of life in the Eucharist. We can receive this bread daily at Mass; we can be fed daily in His Word. These are necessities for our pilgrimage. ( CCC 2837)
I am a sinner and I need to be forgiven. Daily. I must ask God to forgive me for what I have done and especially of what I have failed to do. I need to learn to hate my sins because they separate me from God. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. I need to forgive in order to be forgiven. And, the generosity with which I forgive will be returned to me. Am I holding a grudge or praying for those with whom I’m angry or estranged? Forgive me as I have forgiven…this leaves very little room for my proud ego.
Lord, make haste to help me! I am being tempted to sin. I am wrestling with the right thing to do. Lord, I need your strength. Help me discern the right from the wrong. Lead us not into temptation.
But deliver us from evil. Literally protect us from Satan, the Evil One. The devil is that fallen angel who is seeking to ruin God’s plan and our salvation through Jesus. Deliver us, O Lord, from the evil that prowls about the world seeking the ruin of souls! Amen.
Let us pray.