Saint Denis, Bishop, and Companions, Martyrs (Optional Memorial)
Teach us to pray.
It was a reasonable request. The disciples had seen Jesus in prayer numerous times. They had also seen him perform many powerful miracles and minister God’s mercy to many people. Perhaps there was a link between the two, they must have thought. Maybe if we learned how to pray like him, we might just become more like him.
If this is truly what they were thinking, they were right! What could possibly be more effective in changing our hearts to be more like Jesus’ heart than opening ourselves to his Father and letting him shape us?
We all know how hard it can be to imitate the Lord. We try, but temptation is too strong. We think we are following his example, but we discover that pride or fear or our all too human ways of thinking have turned us aside. I wish I could be more forgiving, we think, or more courageous or less cynical. Where can we turn?
To God, who is always ready to help us. And that’s exactly what Jesus did for his disciples. “When you pray, say: Father” (Luke 11:2).
The first word of the Lord’s Prayer—Father—is the most important. This familiar, intimate address tells us that our God is approachable, that he loves us, and that he is able to care for us and provide for us. And if God is our good and loving Father, then of course he wants to give us his grace! Of course he wants to help us become more like his only-begotten Son!
Following Jesus in our prayer is the key to following him in our thoughts and actions. As we pattern our prayers on his way of prayer, we will begin to think like him. His desires will become our desires, and his priorities will become our priorities.
So try using the Lord’s prayer as an outline for building your own prayer. Recall the truths about God, your Father. Look forward to the coming of his kingdom. Commit yourself to doing his will. Try to be more forgiving so that you can find his mercy more readily. Eat your fill at the Lord’s table. Seek his protection from the evil one.
Make these your priorities in prayer, and you’ll find yourself thinking and acting more like Jesus.
“Jesus, thank you for showing me how to pray. Thank you for sharing your Father with me!”
Psalm 86:3-6, 9-10
Word Among Us