“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
There is a poem attributed to St. Augustine:
“He who seeks from God
Anything less than God
Esteems the gifts of God
More than the Giver.
Has God, then, no reward?
None save Himself.”
Lord Jesus Christ,
You are the visible face of the invisible Father, of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy: let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified. You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error: let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God. Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with His anointing, so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord, and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind.
The word of God has one goal: Fullness of Life in all its abundance—the Kingdom of God within and amongst us, now and to come. This is the greatest gift; and yet we must remind ourselves that the gift itself is not our God. The Evil Spirit can use their intimate connection to deceive us into thinking that God is absent when the “gift” we want is not given.
Prayer is not solely about the gifts we want, but about being with the Giver. The Good Spirit can use this intimate link between gift and Giver to remind us that, just because it hasn’t “rained” spiritually in our lives for a while, does not mean that God, the Giver Himself, ever stops being the only gift we can be sure of.
Lord Jesus, during this Lenten season, give us the grace to remember that: “All is gift, all is grace.”
“So easily do we pray for the wrong things:
For strength that we may achieve,
And God gives us weakness that we may be humble;
For health that we may do great things,
And God gives us infirmity that we may do better things;
For riches that we may be happy,
And God gives us poverty that we may be wise;
For power that we may have the praise of men,
And God gives us weakness that we may enjoy all things.
And so having received nothing that we have asked for,
But all things that we have genuinely hoped for,
Our prayer has been answered, and we have been blessed”
Please share the Good Word with your friends!
—from A Doorway to Silence by Robert Llewelyn