Perfect Prayer

Challenge: Ask God for the grace to forgive someone (perhaps yourself) who has offended you.
by Father Timothy Walsh, LC | Source:

June 19, 2008

Thursday of the eleventh week in ordinary time

Matthew 6: 7-15
Jesus said to his disciples: "In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This is how you are to pray: 'Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.' If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, come to my aid and save me! Give me your grace and fill my soul with your love. Increase in me that faith which you always asked of those who approached you in the Gospel. Help me to trust in your mercy, and make me a faithful and zealous apostle.

Petition: Lord, teach me to pray!

1. Talking with God. Prayer is an deeply personal conversation with God. It is not a public stage on which we parade our piety. Like two lovers sharing their dreams, hopes and sorrows in the quiet of their own company, so too must we draw off to the “inner room” of our soul, close the door by shutting out all our distractions, and talk to our Heavenly Father in the secret of our heart.

2. Abba, Father. “This is how you are to pray.” It is not often in the Gospel that Jesus is so categorical. In the Our Father he has given us the perfect prayer: First we, as his family and children, praise God’s name and ask for his kingdom of love and justice to arrive. This will come principally through his will being done by all of us. Then we ask that all may have the material and spiritual, Eucharistic bread we need. Finally, we pray for his forgiveness and protection.

3. Two Debts. It is interesting and important that Jesus puts further emphasis on the part about forgiveness. He knows how hard it is for us to forgive. Yet he conditions God’s mercy towards us by our mercy towards others (cf. Matthew 18:21-35). This would be terrifying if Christ hadn’t already died on the cross and assured us of God’s forgiveness and won for us the strength we need to forgive others. His victory over sin, hatred, anger and death is my victory too.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I want to follow your example in everything. Teach me to pray like you. Help me to love like you. Give me your grace and strength to forgive those who have offended me. Make me a real child of God.

Resolution: I will ask God for the grace to forgive someone (perhaps myself) who has offended me.

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