“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
If you have ever been a newcomer to a sport, musical instrument, or hobby, you’ve quickly realized the need for good technique. Yet technique is only effective when a person is in the proper position. Kneeling while swinging a golf club or lying down while trying to carve wood simply doesn’t work. Proper position is more fundamental than technique.
The pagans see God in a position distant from them and so babble out of their anxiety that they won’t be heard. It is not so much their technique as their position that Jesus criticizes. Position is about being in proper relationship with God: God is God and we are not. God is Abba, Father, a loving daddy and we are his beloved daughters and sons. If we could just get that position right, get that understanding at the forefront of our attention, then our prayer could become graced beyond our imaginings.
In your prayer today, focus more on your fundamental position with God than your technique; the results might surprise you. Do you trust that God loves you and is near to you always?
—Cyril Pinchak, S.J. is a first year theology student at Regis College in Toronto. He taught previously at University of Detroit High School & Academy in Detroit, MI.
I gave you my hands to do your work today.
I give you my feet to go your way.
I give you my eyes to see as you do.
I give you my tongue to speak your words.
I give you mind that you may pray within me.
Above all, I give you my heart that you may love within me.
Blessed by your name throughout this day. Amen.
—from For You, O God: A Book of Prayers, © 1998, Loyola University Chicago