Intention: That God may bless and protect all those who carry healing and peace to the poor, the abused, 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.”
A Lenten Reflection
Surveys conducted on religion and spirituality have produced interesting results regarding the practice of praying. In one survey, 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.
Personal attitudes toward prayer tend to reveal much about our notions of God, of faith, and of fulfillment. In his ministry, Jesus witnessed many instances of what could be called misguided or idolatrous prayer. He would teach his disciples how to pray by introducing them to whom they should pray, to what they should desire, and for what they should strive. Prayer was to be their experience of finding themselves in a life-giving and life-saving relationship with their loving Father.
Author William McGill wrote, “The value of consistent prayer is not that He will hear us, but that we will hear Him.” As with any loving conversation, prayer creates a space in which we can tell and be told the truth. Our lives can be both affirmed and admonished by the God to whom we come in humble confidence. Lent is a time for renewing our prayer lives, for re-centering 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 thinking and our doing, so that we may serve you faithfully. Teach us both how to forgive and how to accept forgiveness. May we take up our cross and follow your Son on his path 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.