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Father Muench Says...

Reflections on the Our Father

October 20, 2021

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

My sister called me up on the phone this week. Among other things, we got talking about the Our Father prayer. She mentioned how much she loved this wonderful prayer. However, she then expressed her concern that she felt some people were not understanding many of the promises and prayers of this Lord’s Prayer. Many times, she felt that many say the words of the Our Father quickly and without comprehension.

So, she said “you better write a column. People have to understand what they are saying.” So here we go again; we’re talking about Jesus’ perfect prayer.

Jesus begins this prayer by calling upon our God as Father. In Jesus’ time, this must have been a huge surprise to refer to God as Father for most of the people, even for Jesus’ apostles. The ordinary people thought of God as the God of Moses – the God who Moses met at the top of Mount Sinai, a God of fear. Jesus wants his followers – then and now – to never forget that God wants always to be for us a caring, loving father. We stand before our God in prayer as a son or daughter before “Our Father.”

Each time we say this prayer, we proclaim our determination to make God’s name holy. In this way, we make our prayer with honor and respect to our God and Father. In this way, we bring reverence and honor to God each time we say his name. “Hallowed be thy name.”

Then we make a promise: “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done.” We will do all we can to make our lives better, our world better as we do all we can to make God’s Kingdom united and strong right here on this earth just as in heaven. We commit to being the Kingdom of God – a people dedicated to living a good life filled with the love of Our Savior.

We go on to pray that Our Father takes care of us. “Give is this day our daily bread.” We pray that God satisfies our hunger and also our spiritual needs through the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist – the sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus at each Mass.

Then we make a solemn commitment to forgiveness. We humbly stand before Our Father seeking his forgiveness. We have failed. We have sinned all too often, but Jesus often promised us His forgiveness. Then we make a confidant commitment: “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Lord, treat me as I treat those who sin against me. This is a bold declaration, yet this is what we say. We have to mean it each time we pray to Our Father.

Then we ask Our Father to protect us. “And lead us not into temptation.” I believe that my God and Father never stops protecting me. With love and wisdom Our Father helps me see clearly the temptations that will distract me from following my God.

“Deliver us from evil. Amen.” We close this wonderful prayer again asking our God to protect us. We want to live in love and honesty each and every day. We ask Our Father to protect us from that evil that will block and disturb our relationships with our God and our Fatherso that we can lead better lives.

Finally, never forget that the Our Father is a gift from the Lord Jesus. This prayer is always close to my mind. I truly need it so often. There are so many times when I just need a prayer, and this is the best prayer that we have. Many times, I want to invite some people to join with me in prayer, and I am certain that they know the Lord’s Prayer, and I invite them to join me. There are times when I stand with a family around the sick bed of a loved one, and I want them to join me in prayer, and we turn with our God and our Father as we say the Lord’s Prayer.

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