Breaking Down The Lord’s Prayer
During my prayer time, I like to read a book that will help me gain some understanding of my faith. These past weeks I have been reading this book: The Breath of the Soul: Reflections on Prayer by Joan Chittister. Sister Joan reflected on different aspects of prayer. She took the Our Father and broke it down into attitudes. I hope to sit more with what she said. I pray this prayer everyday and sometimes it just comes so rote. These words in the book helped me to put more thought into it.
“Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name…”
The first attitude is that we be aware of the nature of God. God, Jesus says, is to be “hallowed.” Revered. Honored. Praised. Seen as the eternal Other. Beyond us. Above us. The One who transcends every sniveling thing of life.
“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
The second attitude Jesus calls for is commitment to the will of God here, now and forever. We are to form in ourselves the values held by God if we are ever to be completely human.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
The third attitude Jesus counsels to the apostles is dependence on God to give us what we need, even when we do not know what it is. Jesus leads us to understand that what comes to us in life that cannot be corrected at that moment is, at that moment, a gift of God — even if unclear to us right now.
“Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”
The fourth attitude necessary to pray is to recognize our own need for forgiveness. To go to God asking for the grace we refuse others is to break the bond of love to which God binds us as well as to the Godself.
“And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”
The fifth attitude basic to Christian prayer, Jesus tells us, is the desire to live a good and godly life. It is the admission of our humanity, our limitations and an awareness of the natural weaknesses. It reminds us who we really are.