By Deacon Thomas G. Davis
The Our Father is one of the first prayers we learned as children. But have we ever taken the time as we prayed the Our Father to think about what this prayer means to each of us and what it is saying to us?
First, did we realize that The Lord’s Prayer is divided up into two parts? The first section is our prayer of praise to the Father, and the second part is our prayer to the Father seeking His help, guidance and support in our lives as we journey to Him in heaven.
I would like to take this time to share with you what the words of this prayer are saying to me. So let’s begin.
“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”
The Father is the one who created everything and “saw it was good.” He created each one of us and therefore we are good and He loves each of us more than we can ever know or imagine. For the Jewish people, God’s name “Yaweh” was so sacred that in their belief and in ours His name is held in the highest regard.
“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
We pray that God’s will be done here in this world as it is in heaven. We pray that the lack of love of neighbor – and all the injustice, hatred and discontent that this has caused – will be overcome with the realization that we are all brothers and sisters in the Lord in this world as we will be in heaven.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
As the Scriptures tell us, the birds in the air and the fish in the sea and all animals are cared for by God. We pray that God will – out of His infinite love for each of us – care for His children in their needs. We also thank God for giving us His Body and Blood in the Eucharist to strengthen us spiritually to live our life the best we can.
“And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
We pray that God will give us the ability and the desire and the love to forgive those who have done wrong to us. We also pray that God forgives each of us for the sins that we have committed against Him in not living by the commandments He gave us, but more importantly, for having offended God, the One who loves us so much.
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
We acknowledge that we are weak and imperfect. We, in many cases, do not know what is best for us. We pray that God will guide us to know the difference between good and evil and that He will guide us and give us His strength to avoid sin and the temptations in this life so that we will not offend God.
God has also taught that in our prayer to Him that all we have to do is ask and we will receive – maybe not what we wanted – but that which He knows is best for us. Seek and we will find, knock and it will be opened to us.
We know that if we went to our parents for help and guidance, they did the best they could to give us the best and most loving advice that they could. How much more will the Father – who loves us to an infinite degree – answer, open the door to us and allow us to find the way to Him.
Readings for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Genesis 18: 20-32
Psalm 138: 1-2, 2-3, 6-7, 7-8
Colossians 2: 12-14
Luke 11: 1-13
Deacon Thomas G. Davis is a permanent deacon who serves at St. Anselm Church, Bay Ridge.