Matthew 6:7: “Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.”
Some of us are so used to pray the traditional prayers that sometimes it becomes a routine, words that just pass through our mouths. We babble and race to the end as if we are trying to break our fastest record. I am guilty of these habits as well. I used to think that God understands; and it’s the action that is important; the gesture of praying. But today, I’m reminded again to savor every word of prayer that comes out from my mouth; to really mean them and feel them in my heart.
The prayer Jesus taught us is not a formula or a magical spell that if said, then we become holy or it would ward off all misfortunes. Words are just containers. If we open them, we will see the reality; the truth that is inside. We will experience and feel the words come to life. Until we become the words we utter.
I am not a theologian or a Bible scholar. But I would like to share how I perceive The Lord’s Prayer:
“Our Father” – Jesus calls us to be united with Him; to be one with Him and together, sharing in His “sonship”, we cry out to our Father.
“Who art in heaven” – what is heaven? a place? a state of being? we know that heaven is above the earth. God is greater than anything and is above all else. Heaven is where He is and where He reigns. It is a place and also a state where each one feels and experience perfect love, happiness, peace and all goodness. Words are never enough to describe heaven. Jesus is inviting us and telling us that if we let God into our hearts, then we can experience a glimpse of heaven inside us.
“Hallowed be thy name” – God is holy; that is why we must be holy. In our own efforts, it’s impossible. But with God, all things are possible. If we unite ourselves with Jesus, then holiness is attainable.
“Thy kingdom come” – Jesus is showing us that nothing is compared to the joy of living in the kingdom of God. It is His desire that we should live with Him in His kingdom.
“Thy will be done” – In our celebration of Holy Mass, one of my favorite moment is just before we pray the Lord’s prayer, the priest pray, “Through Him, and with Him, and in Him, O God Almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever.” and we all say, “Amen!” And that’s what Jesus prayed as well in John 17:20-23; that all may be one – complete unity; that is His Will.
“On earth, as it is in heaven” – everything starts from God. Jesus calls us to make this earth like in heaven, where love, peace, virtues, goodness abides.
“Give us this day our daily bread” – we are not only asking for our needs to be met but for Jesus who is the bread of life. He is the one who nourishes and sustains us. He is all we need.
“and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us;” – I acknowledge my own sinfulness. I am stubborn, hard-headed, proud, and selfish and so on and on…… I need Jesus. He who created me, is the only one who can change me and make me whole.
“and lead us not into temptation” – I am weak, frailty and broken. It is so easy to fall and so hard to get back up again. I need Jesus to heal and strengthen me. I am not a superman, I cannot do it on my own.
“but deliver us from evil.” – God wants us to be free. He created us to be free and enjoy that freedom together with Him. Just like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, when they enjoyed their fellowship and friendship with God, totally free. That is what Jesus wants for us; to be healed, to be set free, to be released from prisons and be able to see and enjoy the life that He is offering us.
Let God’s words break open before us and let us eat together Him who is the Word became flesh.