19 February 2013
Tuesday, 1st Week of Lent
Gospel Reading: Mt 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.”
Our short Gospel passage describes to us the nature of Christian prayer.
1. It is not about the multiplicity of words or length of time spent as about the authenticity of relationship we built.
Prayer is basically communication, and communication builds relationship. The special thing with prayer is that it is our relationship with God that it builds. Does it mean that we are better off without our rosaries and lengthy prayers? Not really. It's just that now we know these prayers spring from our relationship with, or to use the language of prayer, our devotion to, God.
2. It is about putting God first.
Even when we approach God bringing ourselves and our pressing concerns, still we begin our prayer by acknowledging God's reign over us, or as He would like us to know Him, His being our Father. Because God is our Father, He knows our needs and cares for us more than we can take care of ourselves. Thus, we pray primarily to worship God, to seek His Kingdom and His will. And because we have a loving Father, we can approach Him and beg for our daily bread and many other needs.
3. It is about being transformed by our prayer.
When we pray we become closer to God, and the closer we are to Him, the more we hear His invitation to share His life with us. Meaning, the more we pray and build our relationship with God, the more we are transformed according to His image and likeness. In simple terms, we ask ourselves: are we becoming more loving as we pray? A basic expression of this love is our capacity to forgive. Why forgiveness? When we forgive, we bring the love of God to those who have sinned against us, to those who least deserve it, or to put it another way - we bring God's love to those who need it most.
This is how Jesus taught us to pray.