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Our Father – Jesus taught us to pray

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Matthew 6:7–15 St Polycarp (Commemoration)

Jesus’s teaching on prayer is warm, clear and direct.  In teaching us about prayer he reveals his Father. Jesus wants us to relate to God as our Father – to cry out, Abba, Father'.  The greatest privilege and joy we have as Christians is that we can address God in this intimate and loving way:  The new man, reborn and restored to his God by grace, says first of all, "Father!" because he has now begun to be a son (St John Chrysostom).  The Father we worship transcends all time and space; he is the source and end of all things.  We bow down before him. 

When we pray, Jesus urges us to go to the Father with our needs, requests and petitions.  Let us look afresh at the prayer he gave us.  The first request is that the name of the Father be acknowledged and revered as holy in our daily lives in our words, our actions and our thoughts.  As we understand the holiness of God, we shall radiate life to all those around us.

Jesus wants us to be bold and confident in praying for the coming of God's kingdom – since we live now in the age of theChurch we can eagerly pray for the return of the Lord.

Jesus calls us to pray that God's will should prevail over the earth as it prevails in heaven: God wills only that which is good, loving and perfect.

Jesus says we need to ask each day for our daily bread: for the daily sustenance we receive from the Father as our spirits are fed and nurtured within us by reading his Word and celebrating the Eucharist.

Jesus reveals that unless our hearts forgive, then we in our turn will not know the joy of forgiveness: forgiveness and prayer go together:

Finally, Jesus shows that each day we face a threat from the evil one, who seeks to lead us into  confusion and away from the Lord.  Each day we need to pray: “Lord, deliver me from all evil.

We can be encouraged by St Teresa of the Child Jesus's experience of prayer: “For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned towards heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”

Father just as St Polycarp laid down his life, may I too lay down my life in love and service of you and your kingdom.

Chris

from Bible Alive

 

Isaiah 55:10–11 • Psalm 33(34):4–7, 16–19 • Matthew 6:7–15

 
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