Tuesday of the 1st Week of Lent
The Lord’s Prayer
I’m sure when you hear somebody shouts: “ASAP!” The meaning that would immediately enter our minds is generally we think of it in terms of even more hurry and stress in our lives. Also maybe we think of this abbreviation as “As Soon As Possible.” How about if we think of it in a different manner in order to find a new way to deal with those rough days along the way as like these:
There is work to do, deadlines to meet; you have got no time to spare but as you hurry and scurry = ASAP! Always Say A Prayer.
In the midst of family chaos quality time is rare. Do your best let God do the rest = ASAP! Always Say A Prayer.
It may seem like your worries are more than you can bear. Slow down and take a breather = ASAP! Always Say A Prayer.
God knows how stressful life is. He wants to ease our cares and He will respond to all your needs = ASAP! Always Say A Prayer.
In today’s gospel, Jesus presents to us one of the two faults when we pray to God and this is vain repetition (v. 7-8) either alone or with others. The other one is vain-glory (Matt 6:5-6). The Pharisees made long prayers (Matt 23:14) by idly babbling over the same words again and again with no purpose. Therefore, all their care was to make them long. In other words, Jesus is teaching us that prayer should not be a piling of words, phrases and formulas in order to be heard by God and to influence Him to grant our petitions. It is in this context that we are accused of many born again and other protestant groups of doing the same. According to them we repeatedly are saying so many Our Fathers and Hail Marys without regard to the meaning of them. The prayer becomes barren and dry by going over of the same thing again and again and this vain repetition is condemned because this displeases God. But let everybody know also that not all long prayers are forbidden, like for example, Christ prayed all night (Lk 6:12). Solomon’s prayer was also long. There are times we need long prayers when our errands and our affections are extraordinary. But merely to prolong the prayer as if it would make it more pleasing or more prevailing with God, this is which is condemned. It is not much praying that is condemned because we are taught to pray always. What is wrong here is when we only say our prayers and not when we pray them. And so let our words few, considerate and well weighed. We must pray in a sincere and serious communication to God our Father. It is in this context that Our Father has to be seen to be able to pray it more meaningfully.
At the end let us reflect these words also coming from a priest. He said that our prayer will be effective and transforming only if it imitates Jesus’ prayer. We pray first that God be hallowed, that God’s Kingdom come when we do His will here as it is in heaven. Only secondly that we ask for what we need: spiritual and material bread, forgiveness and strength to overcome temptations we face today. Christ’s conditional requirement is that God’s forgiveness can be received only after we show forgiveness to others. And so therefore, let us approach God in prayer confidently, simply and with upright intention. It is because God knows our true needs better than we do.