It is not always easy to find the right words to pray. This was the problem facing Jesus's own disciples, when they said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples' (Lk 11:1). St Paul also recognised the difficulty, saying that 'we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words' (Rom 8:26).
|Jesus teaches his disciples to pray|
in the Sermon on the Mount
It is a great blessing and a grace, then, that God has provided good words to use. Like a parent teaching a child to speak, to enlarge its vocabulary and say new things, God gives us new ways of sharing with him the deepest longings of our heart. The Scriptures are a useful place to find prayers and hymns which we can make our own, not least the Psalms, which form the backbone of the Church's public prayer in the Divine Office.
But the best prayer of all, because it comes straight from Jesus Christ in response to his disciples' request, is undoubtedly the Lord's Prayer, better known as the Our Father (cf. Mt 6:9-13; Lk 11:1-4. This is a prayer for all times and seasons, for all situations, and for all people. Above all, it draws us into the prayer of Christ himself, because we address (as he did) our prayers to our loving Father in heaven.
In this new series on Godzdogz, we hope to explore the rich spiritual and theological meanings of the Lord's Prayer. This is a prayer dear to countless generations of Christians before us, and it should be frequently on our lips. In commenting on the meaning of each phrase, our aim is to achieve a deeper understanding which will in turn deepen our prayer, through the Son, in the Spirit, to the Father.
who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name;
thy kingdom come, thy will be done
on earth as it is 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.
For the kingdom,
the power and the glory are yours
now and for ever.