By Sarah Damm
“Lord, teach us to pray …” (Luke 11:1)
For most of my life, The Lord’s Prayer has not been my favorite. And I am not sure why.
After all, this is the prayer Jesus taught us! And therefore, it seems essential to following Him. By teaching it, He was inviting us into the intimate union He shared with His Father. Yes, this is not only the prayer He taught; it was the prayer He prayed!
So, why don’t I desire to pray The Lord’s Prayer? Don’t I want to imitate Jesus’ prayer life? Does this mean I’m not striving for the same closeness He had with God?
When I began writing this reflection, I decided to read today’s Gospel (Luke 11:1-4) for inspiration. And of course, I had to smile. Because today, we read in the Gospel, Jesus’ teaching on prayer. We read The Lord’s Prayer.
It wasn’t just a coincidence. Rather it was an invitation for me to read and re-read, pray, and reflect on The Lord’s Prayer. And in the process, five themes came to mind. The more I thought about these themes, I realized that they are regular parts of my prayer life. My words are different, but the themes are the same.
A Prayer of Praise
Father, hallowed be your name …
God is holy, and He alone is worthy of praise. It is good to begin any prayer with praise, for it honors God for who He is. I like to praise the Lord in many ways: through song, lectio divina, and Eucharistic Adoration. I also praise Him by whispering His name and delighting in His various attributes: “You are good, Lord. You are sovereign. You are mighty to save. You are love itself. I love you, Lord, and adore you.”
A Prayer of Purpose
Your Kingdom come …
It is God’s desire for His Kingdom to be on earth as it is in Heaven. This has led me to pray for God’s desire to be my own. Knowing that I am His friend (John 15:15), and He has given me His spirit (John 20:22), I can pray with great confidence to God for His will to be done in and through me.
A Prayer of Trust
Give us each day our daily bread …
This line from The Lord’s Prayer has been part of my penance after Confession, on more than one occasion, because I struggle with fear and anxiety. Making this a mantra inspires me to trust God in the present moment and not to “worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34). I also know that God wants to hear my needs and petitions; I can bring anything to Him.
A Prayer of Forgiveness
Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us …
So often, a spirit of unforgiveness interferes with my ability to receive the fullness of God’s grace. I desire and seek God’s forgiveness and mercy, but I hold onto the hurt others have caused me. Asking God to help me forgive has been a gateway to emotional and physical healing. Forgiveness brings me closer to His love and His will for my life.
A Prayer of Protection
And do not subject us to the final test.
As a Catholic Christian, I face spiritual battles. The enemy does not want me (or you) to be close to the Lord. He wants to confuse me and cause me to doubt my Baptismal identity as daughter of the King. It is so important that I put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) everyday and ask God for His constant shielding protection.
The Lord’s Prayer may seem rote, but it is quite powerful and essential. It is also the springboard for a personal, deep, and beautiful daily conversation with God. Maybe I pray it more often than I realize.
About the author:
Sarah Damm is a Catholic wife and mother of six children, living in Minnesota. She spends her days running errands, helping with homework, and keeping up with laundry and the family schedule. Sarah loves her faith, coffee, and good books. You can find out more about her and her writing at sarahdamm.com.