Before I sit down to write a reflection, I always say a quick prayer for God’s help and then say an “Our Father.” It’s my go-to prayer, one I murmur in times of stress and times of joy. I quickly say it as I race to a difficult meeting or when I’m struggling with my writing. It’s my whispered prayer before the plane takes off and my prayer of thanksgiving when the plane’s wheels touch the ground again. If I hear of tragedy or illness, I say the Our Father as a plea. It’s also a prayer for community, one that binds us together when we celebrate Mass, at prayer services and memorial services.
In its very simplicity lies the power. The “Our Father” reminds us of God’s love, like that of a father to his child. We acknowledge God’s power and the promise of life after death. We look to him to nourish our spirits, to feed us every day. We ask for forgiveness when we sin against Him, against our neighbors, against ourselves. We promise to love and forgive our family, our friends, the people we work with or come in contact with every day. We tell him that we need his help to avoid temptation and we rely on him to keep away from evil.
Whether the “Our Father” is whispered in the dark corner of our lives or joyfully sung in the celebration of Mass, Jesus tells us that our Father knows what we need before we ask him. Sometimes it just takes us longer to figure out what we really need. Wherever we are in our journey, we need to keep praying the Our Father, to recognize his love and care for us and to renew our promises to forgive.
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