“If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:15)
Everybody prays. Even animals pray. If you are attending mass now, you are praying. Prayer is life but then, just as in the time of Jesus, there are still many who do not understand prayer. Already, Jesus teaches us that prayer is not something we do for public show, it is an act of communion between two people madly in love with each other; God and you. “When you pray, go into your room and shut the door.”
Today, Jesus teaches us that it is not the number of words we use that moves God but the love that God already has for us. Every single word we utter in prayer carries weight. Think of prayer as a conversation between you and the one who loves you. Is it really necessary for us to shout at the top of our voices when we pray?
In teaching us to pray, Jesus shows us that prayer requires a structure; a formula; a plan. Without a structure, we are like people driving without a destination. If we prepare our speech and plan our words before meeting with a Governor or some high-ranking government official, how much more, God.
Secondly, Jesus teaches us that prayer requires adoration (worship). “Hallowed be thy name; Your Kingdom come.” As the saying goes, he who sings well prays twice. Singing praises, and kneeling (prostrating, etc.) before God are important in prayer.
Thirdly Jesus teaches us that giving thanks and submitting to the superior will of God is important in prayer. “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” No matter what we ask in prayer, we must never forget that it is not better than God’s plan. Prayer can change God’s decisions but it changes us first.
Fourthly, Jesus teaches us to pray for our daily bread showing us that the past and future are not ours to worry about. All we should be concerned with is today, to overcome present temptations and be delivered from all evil.
Finally, Jesus shows us that even the very life we live is part of our prayer. After praying the words, we must follow our prayers with actions. If we refuse to forgive those who sin against us, then our pleas for God’s forgiveness are not complete.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, work through me as you worked through the prophet Elisha. Amen.
Bible Study: Eccles. 48:1-15, Ps. 97:1-7, Matthew 6:7-15)
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu