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
I was kind of a “prodigal son” with my Father. I had all the answers when I was younger, driven by my selfish needs and wants. Only when I married and was blessed with children of my own did the “prodigal son” return. At that point my own father was much older, and I was given the gift of growing closer to him through his multiple stays in intensive care and eventually hospice. Later I was given the gift of delivering his eulogy. Dad never judged; he loved all of his children unconditionally. That is what I think of each time I begin the “Our Father.”
Going back to the “prodigal son” with all the answers: I believed I was in control. If I worked hard and, yes, took some risks, I could be successful and would realize all the benefits of career, money, and status. But only with marriage and children could I understand that “I was not driving, I was not in control.” With that came the need to depend on something/someone larger than myself. I realized that it is not my will, but rather God’s will. With that acknowledgement came a greater sense of peace and wholeness.
—Bill Burke serves as a Regional Director in the Advancement office of the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin provinces of the Society of Jesus. Bill and his wife, Colleen, have two daughters.
Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for all the
benefits and blessings you have given me,
for the pains and insults which you have
borne for me.
Merciful Friend, Teacher, and Redeemer,
May I know you more clearly,
and follow you more nearly,
day by day.
—St. Richard of Chichester, in For You, O God, © 1998, Loyola University Chicago.