This is how you are to pray. 

Think about how many great saints have prayed the Lord’s prayer! Imagine all the consolation and wisdom that people like Catherine of Siena, Ignatius of Loyola, and Thérèse of Lisieux have derived from offering these simple but profound words to our heavenly Father.

It can be easy to feel inadequate when you hold yourself up to such shining examples of prayer. You might wonder how you could ever hope to even come close to the insights they received—not to mention the courage that so many martyrs found as they offered this prayer at the hour of their deaths! Yet for all their heroism and holiness, they had one thing in common with the rest of us: they prayed. Specifically, they prayed this prayer!

Think about that the next time you say, “Our Father, who art in heaven . . .” You are reciting the same prayer that these great saints did—the same prayer that Jesus himself taught his very first disciples. And they prayed with the same simplicity and sincerity that Jesus recommends to every disciple.

All God wants is for you to come to him with an open heart. He already “knows what you need,” so you don’t have to worry too much about getting everything right as you pray (Matthew 6:8). In fact, by saying, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done,” you are already entrusting yourself and your loved ones to God’s care (6:10). And when you ask for your “daily bread,” you are confessing that he alone can give you what you need—and that he will provide (6:11). Every part of this prayer, in fact, can bring you closer to the Lord.

Prayer is the foundation on which all other spiritual growth is built. It is the spring from which works of mercy flow. Most importantly, it is the source of your ability to love as Jesus loves and to forgive as he forgives. This is the path of holiness that the saints themselves walked—and Jesus is inviting you to walk the same path!

So as you pray the Lord’s Prayer today, let the saints encourage you. Trust that the Holy Spirit wants to lead you into your Father’s presence. Then quiet your heart so you can sense how close he is to you. Holiness is far more accessible than you thought!

“Lord, teach me to pray!”

Sirach 48:1-14
Psalm 97:1-7
Matthew 6:7-15


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