Teach Us to Pray
“This is how you are to pray” (Matt 6:9).
We cannot emphasize enough that when his disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he did not just give them a formula of words, he invited them to share his own relationship with his Abba.
They had seen him in prayer, knew that when he went apart, raised his face to the sky, held his arms up, he was experiencing an intimate encounter with God.
Jesus invites them to stand with him, lift up their minds, hearts, souls and bodies with the same intimate assurance that they were in the loving gaze of God.
When we pray with Jesus, our brother, we are exercising our essential dignity as children of God. By our baptism we became dwelling places of the Trinity, called by the Creator into existence, named and loved eternally. We were incorporated into the risen body of Christ, becoming his presence in the world. We were flooded with light and wisdom by the Holy Spirit. We are now the family of God, and when together we pray, God hears the voice of Jesus.
The petitions of the “Our Father” align us with God, enable us to grow in the nourishment of the Eucharist, our daily bread, give us the power to give and seek forgiveness in an ongoing act of redemption that reaches beyond us to everyone we touch. We are encouraged not to be afraid, for God will always be with us, even in trial and temptation.
The prayer of Jesus is a continuous exchange between God and humanity, divine and human. To know it by heart and to say it often is to uncover the entire mystery of God and of ourselves as part of the Family of God.