Jesus teaches the people to pray the Our Father

Matthew’s Gospel (6:7-15) today, expands on one of the topics mentioned in yesterdays’ Gospel – Prayer.

Fr Paul provides a context for this passage letting us know that it comes in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus is talking about how we can enter the kingdom of heaven.  Central to that, and to Matthew’s message, is Prayer.

Fr Paul invites us to draw closer to the prayer Jesus gave us, the Our Father, by breaking it down into parts.  The prayer begins with an invocation (those beautiful words ‘Our Father’) and then consists of two halves, each made up of three requests.
The first half (and its three requests) regard God:

  1. May your name be held holy
  2. Your kingdom come
  3. Your will be done

The second half (and its three requests) regards our human needs:

  1. Give us our daily bread (not only in a physical sense but nourish us in other ways too)
  2. Forgive us
  3. Do not let us be put to the test – save us from the evil one.

Fr Paul encourages each of us in our prayer time to think about how the ‘Our Father’ was given to us, what it consists of and how the modern equivalent compares with the one in today’s Gospel. Be mindful too, he says, of all the needs and requests we have in our hearts and place them before God.