Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
This Week’s Intention: That God may bless and protect all those who carry healing and peace to the poor, the outcast, and the forgotten people of the world.
Today’s Gospel | Matthew 6:7-15
Jesus said to his disciples: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
“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 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.”
“If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
Recent national surveys conducted on religion and spirituality produced mixed and telling results when they came to the topic of prayer. In one survey of people’s prayer lives, 55% of all respondents indicated that they pray daily. However, 21% indicated that they do not pray at all. In another survey of what people pray for, reasons included praying for family or friends, praying for enemies, and praying in thanksgiving. However, reasons also included praying for a sports team to win, for someone to suffer personal misfortune, and for not getting caught speeding.
Our attitudes toward prayer can reveal much about our notions of God, of self, and of others. In his ministry, Jesus witnessed many instances of persons engaged in prayer that, in fact, placed themselves at its center and made their own gratification its object. He would counter this by teaching his disciples how to pray by introducing them to the one to whom they should pray, to the grace that they should desire, and to the uprightness for which they should strive. Prayer was to be their path to finding themselves in their relationship with the loving Father from whom all life and meaning come.
Author William McGill wrote, “The value of consistent prayer is not that He will hear us, but that we will hear Him.” The power of prayer, as with any loving conversation, is that it creates a space in which we can tell and be told the truth. Our lives can be affirmed, just as they can be admonished, by the God to with whom we sit in both confidence and humility. The season of Lent is especially suited for renewing our prayer lives, for reminding us to pay attention and to re-center our minds and hearts on living in the holy presence of God.
Eternal Father, your son taught us how to pray so that we might know how to live. In this time of Lent, may we find life in the words of his prayer. Guide our thoughts, words, and actions, so that we may do your will and serve you faithfully. Strengthen our character, so that we may speak truthfully and act justly. Increase our compassion, so that we may seek to forgive and know how to accept forgiveness. May we take up our cross and follow your son in his path of salvation from sinfulness to holiness, from death to life. We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.
St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts forever.