I would imagine that most of us would put ourselves down as poor or bad prayers. We try to spend a bit of time with God but then we remember we’ve got other important things to do and so we move on. We have difficulty being silent and still because our lives are so noise. I’m always impressed by the number of people who stay after the morning Mass in silence and saying their favorite prayers.
The disciples ask Jesus to teach them to prayer just as John the Baptist taught his disciples. So Jesus gave them what they wanted. He taught them, prayer is entering into a relationship with God our Father. That prayer is a way of praising God and opening our lives to what God asks of us. Pray reminds us of our need for God and God’s daily bread of love for others and a willingness to let grow of past hurts or injustices. Pray is a way of recognizing our need for God’s help to be faithful to the way God calls us to live life.
We’ve taken that lesson and turned it into a prayer – the Our Father. Any father or mother wants nothing but the best for their children. If your child asks for a fish you wouldn’t give him/her a snake. If your child asks for an egg you wouldn’t think of give him/her a scorpion. Unthinkable.
In Matthew’s gospel when he tells of Jesus teaching the people how to pray Jesus tells them ’when you pray don’t babel like the Gentiles do. They think by using many words they will be heard.’ We have a version of that today; say nine Hail Mary’s nine times a day and send this on to nine people and your prayer will be answered. Jesus tells us not to babble and tells us, ‘your Father knows what you need even before you ask him.’ We know what we want; our loving Father knows what we need. We have a whole list of gimmies. Give me health, give me peace of mind, give me the strength to love people I don’t like, give me the openness I need to accept men and women of different faiths, different racial backgrounds, different lifestyles and different opinions. Give me a happy marriage. Give my children an appreciation of the faith in which I raised them. The list is endless.
But is so hard to trust that our Father knows what we need and what we need is far more important than what we want. You know this from your own parental experience. A son or daughter just has to have this or that, they just have to go to this or that concert, they just have to – everyone else has the latest gadget, everyone else is going to this party, this concert, they just have to. But you know and you will give what they need and you know what they should get it. Now may not be the right time.
Can we trust God, our loving, caring Mother/Father to do the same for us?
We can learn from the persistency of the man who gave his neighbour no rest til got out of bed and gave him the bread to feed his guest. Our Father/Mother knows what we need and knows how and when to answer us. It’s hard to wait, it’s hard to say and mean, ‘thy will be done.’ But our Father/Mother knows what we need, what we want is our problem.
As we continue this Mass we pray for ourselves and for each other that we trust the truth the Father/Mother will provide us with what we need and sometimes, if it is good for us, will give us what we want.