Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Our Father as a Template

The Our Father really is the perfect prayer.  How could it not be? It's straight from the lips of Jesus.  Because of that it can be used both as the straightforward prayer it as, as well as a template for a whole regimen of personal prayer.  We can fill each line with our own thanks and petitions.  Allow me to offer a few suggestions:

Our Father who art in heaven – praise the qualities of God of which you are most cognizant and thank him for favors and the many ways he has shown his care to you and your loved ones (family life, housing, friendships, employment ...)
Hallowed be thy name – pray for atheists, agnostics, and anyone you know who is not practicing his/her faith.
Thy kingdom come – intercede for the needs you hear on your national and local news.  Pray that abortion be outlawed and marriage respected.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven – mention your family, friends, coworkers, and clergy.
Give us this day our daily bread – pray for your needs and those of the people around you.  Pray for the grace of the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, to be active in you and your loved ones' lives.
Forgive us our trespasses – confess your sins and ask God’s forgiveness for others of whose sin you are aware.
As we forgive those who trespass against us – ask God for the grace to forgive, both for yourself and others who have been wronged.
And lead us not into temptation – petition God to help yourself and others in your weakest areas
But deliver us from evil – ask God to protect you and those in your family and community from the evils you fear

A shorter variation is to visualize the faces and situations that correspond to each petition as we recite the Our Father, asking Jesus and the Spirit to provide whatever has slipped our memory (Rom.8:26-27).

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