SLOW AND WITH INTENTION
“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This is how you are to pray: Our Father who art in heaven...” – Mt. 6:7-15
The Lord’s Prayer is the first prayer I learned and memorized as a child. Similar to communion, it is the one part of mass where I feel at my utmost peace. Although the words may remain the same, its significance differs with each experience. In the prayer, there is a special emphasis on forgiveness, received and given. When we allow our hearts to enter into a state of forgiveness, we free ourselves to enjoy life and from the dependence on what others do or do not do to us. We open ourselves to a greater and deeper love that God has for each of us.
For any relationship to strengthen and grow, it requires effort and communication. As we begin our Lenten journey, Jesus invites us to reflect upon what we are actually doing when we pray. Although we may understand and know what the prayers are about, there lies a silver lining of becoming familiar with something and the danger of complacency. He is not only asking for our words, but our hearts and attitudes as well. When I pray, do I seek to deepen my relationship with God? How conscious are my words and thoughts?
Prayer is a true gesture of self, an invitation to surrender and be in honest conversation with God. It encourages us to sift through our memories and see how God is present in our relationships, challenges, frustrations, and emotions. Not only do we pour our hearts to Him in prayer, we are also saying, “Here God, let me tell you what is on my heart so that it may be Yours.” Beauty lies in our vulnerability, complex emotions, and authentic imperfections. When we allow ourselves and God to embrace who we are, we are expressing a desire to have a sincere and genuine connection with Him. We are led into a journey of reflection, deepening of our self-knowledge, and increasing our love and dependence on Him.
Lord, enfold me in the depths of your heart.