Remember the story I told last week about the young boy getting ready for his First Communion? I’d told him that when Jesus comes to us in Communion He comes as food and as friend. I asked him what he does when a friend comes to visit. He told me he would chat with Jesus, tell Him how he’s doing and then he would ask Jesus how He’s doing. Perfect prayer is a heart to heart conversation of friends.
In teaching the apostles how to pray Jesus teaches that in prayer we enter into a relationship. When you pray say ‘Our Father’ – we are into a relationship of child to parent. Between parent and child there are healthy relationships and unhealthy relationships. Relationships that are open and honest, supportive and life giving are good relationships. Relationships that are controlling, manipulative and abusive are certainly unhealthy. As a child grows to adulthood his/her relationship with a parent changes, or is supposed to. How often have you heard someone say, or maybe you’ve said yourself – “parents never let you grow up”? We could be forty years old and still being treated like a child. Our decisions are judged, our choices are questioned as if we didn’t have a brain to rub together. We feel our own adulthood; our own life experience is not respected.
In the gospel of today Jesus wants us to enter, through prayer, through that trusting conversation of friends, into an adult relationship with our Father. We come to our Father with our needs and our fears, but first of all we should come with praise and thanksgiving; ‘Hallowed be Thy name.’ One time Jesus told the apostles;” when you pray don’t babble and prattle, don’t use a lot of words.” He told them, ‘your Father knows what you need even before you ask’, He will take care of you, but first of all recognize the One with Whom you are conversing, God Who gives you your very existence.
But we all have difficulty with Jesus’ promise, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be open to you.” It’s not been our life experience. In those desperate, frantic times in our lives haven’t we wondered, “Does anyone hear my cry, does anyone hear me knocking”? The story Jesus tells in the gospel is to encourage us to persistency, to never give up.
So Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done” so that we will come to prayer with a deep trust in the Father Who loves us, Who knows our needs even before we ask.
You know as parents there are times when you have to say ‘no’ to the persistence, call it nagging, of a son or daughter. Whatever it is they want is so important to them, everyone else has what ever it is, everyone else is going to where they want to go. You are so mean not to give them what they want, right now. But you know it’s not good for them, now is not the time. You’re not being mean, spiteful, you are being loving and caring. Your trust your parental instinct.
Jesus asks us, trust the parental instinct of our God by meaning what we say when we pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” In His own agony He prayed, “if it is possible let this chalice pass me by – spare me tomorrow’s pain – “yet not my will but Your will be done.” The prayer that is so common to us asks us to trust the truth, God knows what we need but God sees the bigger picture and there are times when what we want, what we desperately want is not what is best right now.
As we continue to celebrate this Mass in which we will pray the very prayer Jesus taught us, we can pray for ourselves and for each other to trust the parental instinct of God and place ourselves, our worries, our fears, our hopes in our Father’s hands, trusting that when the time is right we will receive that for which we ask, find that for which we seek and the door of our desires will be opened.