Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer
(Delivered at the K of C Council meeting, 7 October 2013)
A few years back Rachel and I attended the annual deacons and wives of deacon’s retreat at Loyola. The Theme that year was, “Our Life with the Blessed Trinity.” It incorporated a lot of what we do with prayer as there were only a few conferences, and very short. They were designed to give us a short intro to a subject … and then let us wander free and let the spirit work His way with us.
The intro on the first evening was to help us with personal prayer, and we began with a simple one … Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer. The point made throughout the short presentation was that we seldom prepare for prayer … we just go into it and then move on. To prepare for prayer we need to have the right place, the right presence, regard, gift, prayer material, and personal dialogue. The latter means that we do not always have to use the exact words, but the form. “One day he was praying in a certain place. When he had finished, one of his disciples asked 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. Forgive us our sins for we too forgive all who do us wrong; and subject us not to the trial." Luke 11:1-4
The Lucan "Our Father" consists of an address (Father), two wishes spoken before God and three petitions asked of him.
Address: "Father"; "Abba,” We speak as Jesus’ brothers and sisters who stand in his intimacy with God. It is a communal prayer of Jesus’ disciples. The word for “Father” is just “Ab.” “Abba” makes a closer translation to “Daddy.” Surely Jesus learned to call his earthly father “Daddy” rather than “Father.”
Two Wishes: "May you be praised." "May you be Lord of all."
Three Petitions: "Give us what we need." "Forgive us who are committed to forgiving each other." "Don't let us lose faith in you."
From this prayer we raise some questions to think about … and reflect upon:
• What image or notion of prayer did your parents give you?
• Did you have a childhood experience of God that influenced you greatly?
• As your experience of God evolved, was it from Father to Holy Spirit, or some other way?
• To which person of the Trinity do you prefer to pray? Why?
• What has been your richest experience of God? Your deepest consolation?
• What is your favorite image of God, your favorite hymn, scripture passage?
The example of the Our Father can also be used to translate the prayer to the Mother of God, the Hail Mary. Within that prayer, if you study it closely, is also the form as given for the Our Farther.
The month of October has been set aside for the praying of the Holy Rosary, where the Our Father and the Hail Mary are repeated throughout. In praying the Rosary, as we also took up on the retreat, we need ask ourselves what preparation we did before we began. Just a thought.
I leave you now to work all this for yourselves … as we did.
Deacon Rick Fisher