The Lord’s Prayer is one of the most common and most recited prayers in the life of a Catholic. For the very reason that it has been taught by our Lord himself. It is a beautiful way by which Jesus gave us his example of the relationship that he has with his father in heaven. However, there are a few things that we often miss out on while saying this prayer.
The Lord’s prayer by its very name can tell us, that this is not just the prayer that has been taught to us by Jesus himself, but it is also HIS prayer. The prayer which he often used to say during the day. Maybe one of his favorites. The entire life of a Christian can be compiled within this prayer. Or maybe it would be the right thing to say that God our Eternal Father speaks to us as we say this prayer. It’s a beautiful feeling that we get once we understand the depths of this prayer.
This is what Jesus says while he teaches His favorite prayer :
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just 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 and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.”
Here are few points that we must always remember as we say the Lord’s prayer:
1. Know every word that you say
Well, this is a disclaimer that I need you to understand. We must remember that the Lord’s prayer is not just a few words given by any ordinary man, but these are words spoken and taught directly by our Lord and Savior. Why did he teach us a prayer so short? Why didn’t he give us any rules or postures to keep in mind while we say this prayer? Why did he tell us to call his father Our Father? With so many questions in mind, it becomes inevitable for anyone to be very careful and alert while we say this prayer.
2. Accept your Father in Heaven
In the previous point, this was one of the questions that I had put in. Why did Jesus make us call his father to be our father? The reason is very simple. He wants us to remember every single time we say the Lord’s prayer, that his father is actually our father. In that way, Jesus is our Lord, Savior, and also our brother. Isn’t that an amazing reason to rejoice? Well, not just in the Lord’s prayer, but many times in the Gospels do we find Jesus saying that his father is also our father. He establishes a very personal relationship between us and the Holy Trinity. He reminds us also to remind ourselves that we are not orphans and that we have the permission to call God as Our Father. At the same time, now that we know that God is our father in heaven, we must truly and readily accept that. Believe that! How fortunate we are that we have a father who has not just created us, but the entire multiverse, and that every knee shall bow before him. Therefore, right at the beginning of the prayer, we start by directly calling ‘Our Father in heaven.
3. Seek his kingdom.
Seek first the kingdom of God, and all other things will be granted to you. One of the perfect teachings given to us. This particular promise contains the entire source of our life to be lived happily and peacefully, a life of content and a life of satisfaction. Also, Jesus teaches us that before asking anything for ourselves first, we must first glorify him by saying ” hallowed be your name”. Then we must pray to him that he may do his will of bringing his kingdom of heaven onto this earth. We must pray that people of his creation may listen and accept his will, just like all the angels and saints in heaven accepts his will and does the same. Therefore what Jesus is actually telling us to be is selfless. It is important that we attain this virtue of being a selfless person rather than being a selfish person.
4. Ask only what is necessary
It is quite evident that apart from the lord’s prayer, we do ask a lot many other things from God- our wishes, desires, petition, intercessions for others, etc. This means that most of the time all we ask is for ourselves and that too things which might distract us from God. We must remember what sin is. Sin is an action that we commit which makes us give the position of God to some other matter, thus, which takes us away from God. Therefore, if I ask for a car and that car takes us away from God, that after we receive that car we might hardly remember him in an entire day, will God grant us that wish? The answer is best known to him, but once we distract ourselves from God, we commit a sin. Therefore Jesus through his prayer, also tells us, that we need to ask from God, only what is absolutely necessary- our daily bread. Not the bread for tomorrow or the entire week, but only for our daily bread. That’s the standard that Jesus wants us to attain in order to be worthy children of his father.
5. Forgive others before you ask for forgiveness
Once again Jesus, through his prayer that he wanted us to learn, also taught us that sins make us unclean. Jesus says that be perfect just like your heavenly Father is perfect. This means that just like our heavenly Father forgives us no matter how many times we sin, we must also forgive those who have sinned against us, or just to put it simply have “offended us”. Thus Jesus teaches to be humble. This is why I had asked you to be alert while saying the Lord’s prayer. Because when I say to God that I need your forgiveness because I have forgiven someone else, we better be honest with the claim that we are making. If not, well we say a lie directly on the face of God! How terrible would that be, a lie on the face of God!
6. Be careful about eternal damnation
Now, after we have glorified God and glorified his name, sought his kingdom, asked for what is necessary, and finally forgiven other’s sins, we must not forget the reason for all of this – Eternal rest, joy, and peace. But that won’t be possible if we are weak and always fall into sin because of temptations. Also when we are too much engrossed in living a sinful life, it is most likely that we are possessed. Possession is not always the way we see horror movies. Listening to all the advice of the demon and all his temptation requires deliverance. Hence Jesus finally asks us to seek the strength of the power of God to fight the devil. Thus we ask clearly that he must not send us any temptation and also to protect and deliver us from Satan.
Thus these are the few points that we need to remember while saying the Lord’s prayer. Spread the word and pray unceasingly.