No matter how wealthy a person is, he/ she cannot have everything they want in life. Think about it. Money cannot buy everything, not even a vaccine in this time of pandemic. A person has something and he/she desires more. Sometimes people think if they plead long enough for something, they will get it. At this time of pandemic, people plead with God in prayer for the sick, their carers on the frontline and for those who live in difficult circumstances.
Scripture assures us that prayer ‘can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine’. Praying is something we do when we wish to communicate with God. People do this in many different ways. Sometimes they pray in thanksgiving to God. Sometimes they express their sorrow and other times they beg God for a favour. Prayer is conversing with God. It is a two-way conversation, which requires speaking and listening. When God answers our prayers, do we acknowledge thanks? If God does not answer prayer do we give up on asking? We pray in faith, hope and love to God in whom we trust.
In the first reading proclaimed at Mass today (Is 55:10-18), the prophet Isaiah describes the Word as life giving, fruitful and nourishing. The Word is more than words spoken by the prophets.
Isaiah personifies the Word of God. In St John’s Gospel (John 1), John introduces the Word made flesh-Jesus. The Word, which comes from the Father and returns to him, is Jesus Christ. Isaiah says when Jesus comes he will do the Father’s will. Jesus’ life on earth is also fruitful, life giving and nourishing. The disciples follow Jesus in his mission of fruitfulness and nourishment. Jesus continues to nourish the disciples today through the Word and the Eucharist.
In the Gospel (Mt 6: 7-18), Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray. God tells them not to use too many words in prayer. God knows our needs before we even ask him. God gives generously and he loves unconditionally. It is not about the quantity of words used in prayer, but the quality of relationship between God and the person. Jesus loved his Father and he instructs the disciples how to pray Our Father. The Our Father is an inclusive prayer, which includes praise, desire, intercession and contrition. It is an appropriate prayer to say most especially in the Lenten season and links with the annual Trócaire Lenten Campaign. This campaign highlights the ‘cry of the earth and the poor.’
This year’s focus is on the country of Sudan. When the faithful pray Our Father, they ask for their ‘daily bread’. We remember those people from whom war has taken everything. They suffered ‘hunger and thirst as they fled for their lives.’
The Our Father is a universal prayer. God’s people pray the Our Father at Mass; at other liturgical services; at the beginning of each decade of the Rosary; for the Pope’s intentions. Sometimes the assembly of people gathered for Mass sing the Our Father. Usually, as a mark of respect for God, we stand or kneel to pray Our Father.
VERITAS provides free resources online for prayer, which includes the Our Father/ An Phaidir. It also provides Lenten resources. The Children’s Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé e-book is also available.
- Our Father/an Phaidir
- Pray a decade of the Rosary for people who are sick with Covid-19
- Say another decade of the Rosary for those who care for the sick
- Read Awut’s story on the Trócaire box
- From your Bible read the Our Father/ An Phaidir from Matthew 6:7-15
- Take one phrase of the Our Father/An Phaidir. Write the words on a page to make a poster. Decorate it and display it at home
- Invite a family member to pray the Our Father/ An Phaidir with you
- Draw a picture of Jesus teaching the Our Father to the disciples
- What do you think Jesus spoke to his Father about?
Sr Anne Neylon