THURSDAY, ELEVENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
2 Cor 11:1-11; Ps 111:1-4,7-8; Mt 6:7-15
WHO DO WE PRAY TO?
All of us pray. The disciples too prayed. But they were awe-struck and inspired by their Master’s communion with God, and so they asked him to teach them to pray. In the gospel narrations, especially that of Luke, we come across Jesus praying at different times. The prayers of our Lord were always perfect, and they reveal to us the essence of prayer. As the time of his passion grew near, he prayed, “Father, glorify Your name” (Jn 12:27). That night in the garden of Gethsemane he was exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. How did he pray under those circumstances? “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as you will” (Mt 26:39). He wept at the tomb of his friend Lazarus: “Father, I thank you because you have heard me” (Jn 11:41).
To pray, there is no need to make a lot of noise or to heap up many words. Nor is there a need to “make oneself seen”. Prayer is not magic, with strange and obscure incantations. It is not words that give worth to a prayer. It is the heart that knows God, that loves him, that yearns for him. Words only serve to express what the heart feels for the one whom the soul knows.
How should we pray? Jesus teaches us today that the Father who is in heaven ‘knows what you need before you ask him; therefore, our first word should be ‘Father’. This is the key to prayer. Without understanding this word, without truly meaning it, praying is not possible.
To whom do we pray? This is what we should be clear about. ‘Who is God for me? Am I scared of him as I would of an almighty being, or do I pray with the love of a son, a daughter, deeply aware of God’s paternal love for me?’ Without this acknowledgement of God as our Father, our prayer often remains at the level of empty words. Jesus’ prayers were directed to the Father. May we discover our relationship with God, our Father and pray to Him earnestly.
Response: The Lord’s handiwork is justice and truth.
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