This weekend Jesus teaches us how to pray. We have the Our Father presented to us in Luke’s Gospel. This is the disciple’s prayer. There are two forms of this prayer in the gospels, the one in Matthew is longer. Luke starts with the word Father: not “Our Father who are in heaven.” Here Jesus uses the intimate word Abba. Jesus is inviting us to come to God as a parent without any inhibitions. Our attitude to prayer needs to one of dependence. This dependence is expressed in the loving relationship between and mother and child or a father and child.
May your name be held holy: St Peter Chrysologus in his reflection on these words writes “ We ask God tohallow his name, which by its own holiness saves and makes holy all creation… It is this name that gives salvation to a lost world. But we ask that this name of God should be hallowed in us through our actions. For God’s name is blessed when we live well, but it is blasphemed when we live wickedly.”
Your kingdom come: The kingdom is the central issue of the ministry of Jesus. This is the reign of God is our world and in our hearts. The reign where there is justice and lasting peace. We are working for a world where there is a fair sharing of food and resources, where the weak and vulnerable are cared for and welcomed.
Give us each day our daily bread: This is a childlike request for the normal needs of life. God is the one who cares for us. We are utterly dependent on the sustaining hand of God. God, who looks after the lilies of the field and cares for the birds of the air, will not neglect us.
And forgive our sins as we forgive each one who is in debt to us: This is obligation for all of us. A challenge. Do we, can we sincerely pray his prayer? “For all our sins of the past, forgive us, Father. And may we so experience your forgiveness that we will want to pass on forgiveness to those who have offended us.” (Sylvester O’Flynn)
St Theresa of Avila was asked by a sister, what she should do about contemplative prayer and Theresa replied was: “Say the Our Father…and spend an hour on it.”