Vocation Meditation -
July 25, 2010
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.'"
And Jesus said to the disciples, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.' And your friend answers from within, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.'
"I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs."
"So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened."
"Is there any father among you who, if your child asks for a fish will give the child a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion?"
"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
Jesus, who is looked upon as a Rabbi was asked to teach his disciples a prayer that they might habitually use, just as John the Baptist did to his followers. Here is Luke's version, a shorter one than Matthew's. It teaches us all we need to know about how to pray and what to pray for.
We address God as Father, a characteristic Christian address to God. In prayer we are coming to a Father who delights to supply His children's needs.
God's name says all about Himself. Knowing the mind and heart of God, we can put all our trust in Him.
Note the order in the Lord's Prayer. Before anything is asked for ourselves, God and His glory and the reverence due to Him, come first. We are asked to give God this place. The rest will take their proper place.
This prayer covers all life.
- It covers our present need. 'Daily bread' recalls the manna God gave His people during their wilderness experience. Receiving our 'daily bread' from God frees us from worry of the unknown future. God provides the needs of His beloved children.
- It covers our past sins. We need forgiveness. To approach God our Father, we are mindful of being a sinner before the purity of God. We need purification and healing.
- It covers future trials. Temptations surround us. They come as a challenge to and a test of our humanity to live as God's children with integrity and fidelity. We cannot escape temptations but we can meet them with God.
Jesus then exhorted His disciples not only to pray but to pray with intensity, that is, with greater trust, and persistence. We can guarantee the sincerity of our desires by the passion with which we pray.
"Lord, teach us to pray."
What is my favorite prayer? How does that reflect the contents of the Lord's prayer?
I pray often but I don't pray enough. Teach me how to pray as Jesus did. Help me to seek Your glory and praise before my needs. Illumine my path. Strengthen my vocation in times of peace and trials. Amen.
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.