Jesus said, “When you pray to the Father, pray like this” (The Bible: Book of Mathew Chapter 6 verse 9)
- Our Father who is in Heaven hallowed is your name
- Your Kingdom come
- Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
- Give us this day our daily bread
- And forgive us our offenses as we forgive those that have offended us
- Lead us not into temptation
- Deliver us from evil
Jesus gave us The Lord’s Prayer
Also known as the Our Father.
It is composed of seven simple lines
Seven petitions directed to God.
The first 3 Petitions focus on aligning our lives with God.
On trusting, and putting our lives in God’s hands.
The next 4 Petitions ask for God’s help.
The Lord’s Prayer tells us to speak to God as one would speak to a father — a dad — a perfect dad that completely understands — telling Him about our needs and suffering and asking Him for help to solve them.
I look at the Lord’s Prayer as a conversation with God. It is also an opportunity to align my goals and purpose to God’s order. It is a way to look at the world differently.
Let’s take a look at the 7 petitions of the Lord’s Prayer and how you can apply them to deepen your connection with God in prayer:
1. Our Father who is in heaven Hallow is Your name
Saint Teresa of Avila, who gave us some of the most wonderful descriptions of mental prayer, pauses on the first word of the Lord’s prayer “Our”: “O Son of God! and my Lord! how is it that you give us so much in the first word?
“Our Father”. Jesus did not say to pray to His father. Rather, Jesus said: “Our” — Our Father — Our God the Father — yours and mine — “Our”!
Further, it is not just Father but more like “Papa” or “Dad” from Aramaic: Abba
Our Dad. The Our Father is all-inclusive. The Our Father is for all of us. God’s love is for all of us!
Who is in Heaven
Saint Augustine said that the Heaven that Jesus refers to in the Lord’s Prayer is a state rather than a physical place. God cannot be controlled. God can not be manipulated yet we can not hide or run away from God.
Saint Teresa of Avila also says that the heavens of which Christ speaks in the Lord’s Prayer are to be thought of as the inner space of our soul and heart.
“However quietly we speak, He [God] is so near that He will hear us; we need no wings to go in search of Him but have only to find a place where we can be alone and look upon Him present within us” (Saint Teresa of Avila)
Hallowed be thy name
Thomas Aquinas stands with Saint Augustine by saying “hallowed is your name” we are not asking for God’s name to be holy — God’s name is always holy. Rather, it is asking that God “might work a change in us so that we hallow God above all things”.⁴
Our Father, who listens from my soul and my heart, give me what I need to transform my way of thinking so that I may love you above everything.
2. Thy Kingdom come
The Kingdom of this world is the way we typically order things in our society and culture. It is how much hatred we are willing to stand for. It is how much injustice we are willing to allow, it is how much violence we are willing to tolerate, it is about how we react when it comes to “us against them”.
There are heated arguments between those that believe that police did what was necessary to subdue George Floyd and those that believe that George Floyd’s death was violent, unjustified, and racially motivated. Yet some say that George Floyd’s death does not concern them.
For some time now, it is acceptable to fabricate a lie or make up a story to make a point. You see this technique used in business organizations and you’ve seen this technique in politics during elections.
Jesus asks to pray for the order of heaven, the order of the angels and saints to replace that order we have in our society of tolerance for violence, hatred, injustice, and egoism with an order of love, non-violence, peace, and selfless love.
Bless me, Father, so that I may learn to love my neighbour to will the good of another person.
3. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
In our society and culture, the will of a person with power is done.
An individual with power may choose to have God’s will in mind when making decisions that affect other people.
That same individual in power may choose to decide to marginalize others because of prejudice.
Jesus prayed frequently to ask for his Father’s will to be done:
“I say only what the Father taught me… He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.” (John Chapter 8 verses 28 and 29).⁵
The night before His crucifixion Jesus prayed: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” (Luke Chapter 22 verse 42).⁶
Jesus summed up God’s will to his apostles like this: “that you love one another; as I have loved you.” (John Chapter 13 verse 24)⁷
I ask that you give me everything I need to do your will and to carry out your purpose.
4. Give us this day our daily bread
Jesus teaches us to ask the Father to give us our daily bread.
It is reminiscent of “manna from heaven” The flakes that dropped from the sky daily providing food for the Israelites that wandered through the desert for 40 years (Exodus Chapter 16 verses 14 and 15).⁸
We ask God to give us what we need for this day.
Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever” (John Chapter 6 verse 51).⁹
Jesus is our daily nourishment.
The Greek text defines daily in a way that is not done anywhere else in the New Testament: Epiousious meaning super-substantial — Give us this day our Super-substantial bread. For Catholics, this has special meaning as it is related to Christ in the Eucharist also called Holy Communion. (Hennig, 4.3.6).¹¹
Finally, when we ask God for Jesus as our daily bread, as our bread of life we experience a taste of heaven here on earth.
Give us this day everything we need but most of all, let me be one with your Son and my Saviour Jesus. Give me this day Jesus in communion.
Give us this day the virtue to practice your greatest commandment: to love you above all else and to will the good of others — to love others.
5. And forgive us our offenses as we forgive those that have offended us
At the heart of Jesus’ teaching is forgiveness.
Asking for forgiveness is probably one of the hardest things to do. Often our pride gets in the way.
Forgiving someone that has hurt us or wronged us is often even more difficult. We can see that in the many years of war in the middle east.
Jesus, dying on the cross, forgave all who crucified him.
I ask that You forgive us and forgive me for everything I’ve done which is displeasing to you and that separates me from the joy and love and satisfaction of You.
6. Lead us not into temptation
When we say “lead us not into temptation” we are asking God not to allow us to take the path that leads us to go astray. In the Greek text “do not allow us to enter into temptation” and “do not let us yield to temptation.”¹²
Lead us not into temptation implies a decision of the heart:
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Mathew Chapter 6 verse 21).¹³
Further, “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other or be devoted to one and despise the other. (Mathew Chapter 6 verse 24).¹³
I ask You to bless us to not give up so easily on what displeases you. I ask you to Bless us to stand our ground against addiction. I ask you to give us what it takes to love You and everyone; and to see things through your eyes instead of through the eyes of what we’ve made this world become.
7. But deliver us from evil
We see evil everywhere. we see it in school shootings, we saw it when innocent Jews were gassed in concentration camps, we saw it just recently in a Walmart in Texas where a shooter decided to kill people of Mexican origin instigated by political propaganda.
We see evil when a child is abducted for pedophilia.
We see evil when a person is used in human trafficking.
We see evil when seniors are tricked out of their life savings.
We see evil when employers mislead employees to think that they will earn more commission than they actually will.
We see evil and it is scary and we cry from the heart that we and all humankind are spared from all the distress of the world and bring us peace instead.
And I ask that You protect us from evil. I ask that You protect me and my family and friends and everyone from evil and I ask you to give us the Blessing to ride out the difficulties, trials, and suffering in life.
For mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us. Teresa of Avila: Autobiography Ch 8, 7
The Lord’s Prayer is often referred to as the perfect prayer. It is a model; it is a guide for all your prayers. Again, Jesus said, “Pray like this”.
Jesus invites us to use this model to facilitate conversation between you and God.
The Seven Petitions as Mindsets are listed below
- Our Father, who listens from my soul and my heart, give me what I need to transform my way of thinking so that I may love you above everything.
- Bless me, Father, so that I may learn to love my neighbour — to will the good of another person.
- I ask that you give me everything I need to do your will and to carry out your purpose.
- Give us this day everything we need but most of all, let me be one with your Son and my Saviour Jesus. Give me this day Jesus in communion. Give us this day the virtue to practice your greatest commandment: to love you above all else and to will the good of others — to love others.
- I ask that You forgive us and forgive me for everything I’ve done which is displeasing to you and that separates me from the joy and love and satisfaction of You.
- I ask You to Bless us to not give up so easily on what displeases you. I ask you to Bless us to stand our ground against addiction. I ask you to give us what it takes to love You and everyone and to see things through your eyes instead of through the eyes of what we’ve made this world become.
- And I ask that You protect us from evil. I ask that You protect me and my family and friends and everyone from evil and I ask you to give us the Blessing to ride out the difficulties, trials, and suffering in life.