Gospel: Mt 6:7-15
When you pray, do not use a lot of words, as the pagans do; for they believe that, the more they say, the more chance they have of being heard. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask him.
This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven, holy be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done on earth,
as in heaven. Give us today, our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those
who are in debt to us.
Do not bring us to the test, but deliver us from the evil one.
If you forgive others their wrongdoings,
your Father in heaven will also forgive yours
If you do not forgive others,
then your Father will not forgive you.
Our conception of God influences the kind of spirituality that will give order and meaning to our lives. It will also color how we deal with the world at large. That is why Jesus introduces us to a Father that is wholly different from our own idea of who He is. Jesus serves as a kind of bridge that brings the Father near to us and we to Him. That is why He taught us the Our Father. This is the only prayer that Jesus prayed recorded in the gospels. This is the prayer He wishes all His disciples to be acquainted with.
Looking at the Our Father, we see a structure that could form our relationship with the Father of Jesus and our Father as well. First, there is praise and thanksgiving to this awesome God. Then the prayer of petition follows. Perhaps what is amazing in this prayer is the fact that when we forgive, we are also forgiven. Ultimately, forgiving others is to forgive ourselves also. So the next time we pray, let God take center stage in our prayer and not our problems and needs. That is the least of our concern for the loving God anticipates our needs and will respond accordingly. And secondly, what we do to others will eventually be what will be done to us in return.