He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.’
Today is Wednesday the 9 October in the 27th week of Ordinary Time.
The University of Johannesburg choir sing Pater Noster, the Our Father.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Luke.
Perhaps there are songs and rhymes that I have known from childhood and are deeply embedded in my mind. They may have become like wallpaper – something reassuring and familiar, but hardly noticed. The prayer that Jesus taught his disciples may be part of my childhood repertoire, words repeated over and over again, comforting but perhaps not very striking.
What must it have been like for Jesus’ disciples to watch him pray and then to hear these words for the first time? Can I place myself in this scene in my imagination, watching him at prayer and then hearing him speak those words? How does it feel to hear them as totally fresh - my lord and spiritual master teaching me how to pray? How do I feel as I listen intently to his teaching?
I may find some words and phrases comforting and reassuring - ‘Father’, ‘your kingdom’, ‘daily bread’. Encouraging words for some, perhaps difficult for others. Some words may be challenging – ‘For we ourselves forgive everyone’. Do we really? ‘Time of trial’ – what kind of trial? Will I be strong enough to cope?
As you hear these words again, what do they ‘taste’ like in your mouth? How do they sound in your ears? Are they taking you to a place in your heart where you want to speak to Jesus about his prayer?
Whatever questions, anxieties, hopes or longings for yourself and the world may be in your heart, take a moment to share them with Jesus.