Teach us to pray
First Week of Lent-Tuesday
Reading: Matthew 6:7-14 ‘When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Our Father in heaven hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us this day our daily break. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial. But rescue us from the evil one. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your father forgive your trespasses.’ Reflection In this discourse, Jesus clearly outlines an essential disposition for fruitful prayer. He asks his followers to keep their prayer simple and sincere; there is no need to use complicated language but to speak straight from their hearts about their everyday concerns. Echoing the words of the psalmist, He reassures all people that a compassionate, Father God knows the needs of all his flock ever before a word is on their lips. (Psalm 139:4) He asks us to honour and keep holy the great name of God the Father of all people. He desires that God’s kingdom of justice, love and peace come upon the earth where the rights of each person are upheld and respected. Doing God’s will is non-negotiable if peace and justice are to reign on earth. I am challenged to reflect on my own attitude to listening for and responding to God’s will in my own life. I ask myself, am I seeking God’s will or my own? During this time of Lent, what attitudes or behaviours do I need to change if God’s will is to be done in my life? I am reminded of the humility of Mary when she prayed, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ (Luke 1:38) I ask for the daily bread of the gift of prayer, a deeper faith and the graces I need to fulfil God’s mission for me in daily life so that I may truly live the great commandments of God; ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’ (Mark 12: 30-31) Jesus encourages us to trust in God’s total, unconditional forgiveness of our failures, transgressions and sins. He reminds us that true, deep, sincere forgiveness of others is necessary if our prayer is to be heard. We ask God for his protection in all areas of our lives. Prayer
Loving Father of all, your most holy Son taught us to pray. Confident to call you father, fill us with his spirit of prayer, that your kingdom may come in our lives as we draw ever closer to you. Amen.