“LORD, TEACH US HOW TO PRAY” (Lk 11:1–4).
Lord, teach us how to pray
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.”
Gospel Commentary from the Navarre Bible, Commentary to the Gospel of St. Luke (with permission)
- 1-4 St Luke gives us a shorter form of the Lord’s Prayer, or Our Father, than St Matthew (6:9-13).
- In Matthew there are seven petitions, in Luke only four.
- Moreover, St Matthew’s version is given in the context of the Sermon on the Mount and specifically as part of Jesus’ teaching on how to pray; St Luke’s is set in one of those occasions just after our Lord has been at prayer — two different contexts.
- There is nothing surprising about our Lord teaching the same thing on different occasions, not always using exactly the same words, not always at the same length, but always stressing the same basic points. Naturally, the Church uses the longer form of the Lord’s Prayer, that of St Matthew.
- “When the disciples asked the Lord Jesus, ‘Teach us to pray’, he replied by saying the words of the ‘Our Father’, thereby giving a concrete model which is also a universal model. In fact, everything that can and must be said to the Father is contained in those seven requests which we all know by heart. There is such a simplicity in them that even a child can learn them, but at the same time such a depth that a whole life can be spent meditating on their meaning. Isn’t that so? Does not each of those petitions deal with something essential to our life, directing it totally towards God the Father? Doesn’t this prayer speak to us about ‘our daily bread’, ‘forgiveness of our sins, since we forgive others’ and about protecting us from ‘temptation’ and ‘delivering us from evil’” (St. John Paul II, General Audience, 14 March 1979).
- The first thing our Lord teaches us to ask for is the glorification of God and the coming of his Kingdom.
- That is what is really important — the Kingdom of God and his justice (cf. Mt 6:33).
- Our Lord also wants us to pray confident that our Father will look after our material needs, for “your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (Mt 6:32).
- However, the Our Father makes us aspire especially to possess the goods of the Holy Spirit, and invites us to seek forgiveness (and to forgive others) and to avoid the danger of sinning. Finally, the Our Father emphasizes the importance of vocal prayer. “‘Domine, doce nos orare. Lord, teach us to pray!’ And our Lord replied: ‘When you pray, say: Pater noster, qui es in coelis . . . Our Father who art in heaven …“What importance we must attach to vocal prayer!” (St. Josemaria, The Way, 84).
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TOPIC: HOW IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER IN HEAVEN?
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