Lent is a good time to take stock of our prayer, and today Our Lord reminds us that prayer should be simple and reflect the state of our heart. The petitions we make reflect and shape our attitudes as well as our willingness to be pleasing in his sight. The Lord’s Prayer contains the simplest, most basic petitions and attitudes on which all our prayer should be founded.
We ask that God be glorified in Heaven and on earth, and we know that the best way to glorify God is to help his will be done, showing that he is someone special to us and good for the whole world. His will, as today’s First Reading reminds us, will be done; that “word” that goes forth from him is his Son, and his Son will accomplish Our Father’s will in Heaven and on earth. We can second that in our lives or be spectators left out in the cold when it happens without our participation. It all rests on our willingness and our effort.
We ask for our daily bread. Not yachts, fame, riches, but what we need. What we need is very simple; sometimes we lose sight of that. We should strive to make what we want not much more than what we need in a spirit of Gospel poverty. We may have nice things, but we know they’re to provide for our needs and to be used to help provide for the needs of others.
We ask for forgiveness, but, just as importantly, we ask for the grace to forgive others, because we know the degree we receive mercy is determined by the degree to which we show it. Our Lord reiterates this connection in today’s Gospel and also dedicates an entire parable to the subject (see Matthew 18:21–35).
Lastly, we acknowledge that we cannot effectively resist temptation and battle evil alone. We need Our Lord’s help, first in not getting into situations of temptation or evil in the first place, but also in giving us the grace we need to overcome temptation and be holy.
A long path of prayer remains this Lent. Meditate on the Lord’s Prayer and see what needs and attitudes you are bringing before Our Lord. Lent is a time for changing attitudes for the better.
Readings: Isaiah 55:10–11; Psalm 34:4–7, 16–19; Matthew 6:7–15. See also 11th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday