The Our Father
The Gospel of this Sunday opens with the scene of Jesus praying alone, in a separate place. When he finishes, the disciples ask him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” And he responds, “When you pray, say: Father …”
This word is the secret of Jesus’ prayer; it is the key that he himself gives us so that we can also enter into this relationship of trusting dialogue with the Father who has accompanied and sustained Jesus’ life.
To the name “Father,” Jesus associates two petitions: “hallowed be your name; your kingdom come.” Jesus’ prayer, and therefore, a Christian’s prayer, is before all to give space to God, allowing him to manifest his holiness in us and allowing the advance of his kingdom by the possibility of exercising his lordship of love in our lives.
Another three petitions complete this prayer that Jesus teaches us. They are three requests that express our fundamental needs: bread, forgiveness and help in temptation. One cannot live without bread, one cannot live without forgiveness, and one cannot live without the help of God when faced with temptation.