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Matthew 6: 7-15 – Lent Week 1, Tuesday | King James Audio Bible | Audio Bible KJV, Spoken Word

7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

In Matthew, Jesus teaches the Our Father, the Lord’s Prayer, as part of the Discourse on the Mountain, in which we are instructed in the correct ways of practising almsgiving, prayer and fasting. Certain tendencies of the Jewish converts are corrected, particularly a certain ostentation and vacuity in the manner of prayer, giving and fasting to which they were accustomed. When they are praying, Jesus orders his followers not to be like the Gentiles, who heap up long-winded but ultimately empty phrases in the vain and superstitious belief that this will impress God. True piety means looking to God with simplicity of heart and true love through the course of each day. Spoken prayer is good and necessary, but the words only count if they express the truth of our inner feelings.

Through the period of Lent, we may perhaps focus on the ways in which we pray to reconcile ourselves with God and with each other, so that we may be worthy of the Kingdom to come and protected from evil. We pray for the coming of the Kingdom, first in this life, through grace, in the core of man’s being, and then through our elevation to eternal life, as God’s plan for our salvation is realised. We pray also that our life on earth may more closely resemble life in heaven, that we all may live according to God’s will, as the angels and saints are. We may wish during Lent especially to reflect on the ways in which we, individually and collectively, fall short of this perfection, and pray for God to lead us on the way.

Our penitence and hope for forgiveness are at the core of our Lenten journey. Through petitioning God we acknowledge our need for his help, for his gifts, and too our imperfections, our sins, our iniquity. Each 50 years, the Jubilee Year obliged people to forgive debts. Christ proclaims a new Jubilee Year. This is a new beginning. Through Christ, the broken relationship between God and man and between men can be healed. Through Christ’s life, his death and resurrection, the central event of human history, our forgiveness is both truly possible and earnestly desired by God. The sins of the past can be taken away from us. The Gospel wants everything to begin anew .

Jesus chooses to highlight this message of forgiveness, particularly teaching us that God’s forgiveness of our trespasses, our debts, is dependent on our forgiveness of others’. We may think of the parable of the unforgiving servant: the king has forgiven the servant the ten thousand talents, a vast sum of money, owed to him, and yet that servant cannot find it in his heart to forgive the debt of a hundred denarii owed to him (Matthew 18: 21-35). If we answer God’s call, confess our sins and submit ourselves wholly to His will, God will forgive us everything. The debts owed to us, the trespasses against us, are a pittance in comparison. It is a humbling thought to carry with us through Lent: we need not be afraid as we confess our sins and let them go. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God’s fervent desire is to absolve us.

‘And so, beloved, let us pray as God our Master himself taught us. Our prayer is friendly and intimate when we petition God with his own prayer, letting the words of Christ rise to the Father’s ears. When we pray, may the Father recognize his Son’s own words. He who dwells in our breast should also be our voice. We have him as our advocate with the Father to plead for our sins and so, when we ask God’s pardon for our sins, let us put forward our advocate’s own words. He said: Whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Surely it follows that we shall more easily obtain what we ask if, when we pray in the name of Christ, we use his own words?’ St Cyprian, On the Lord’s Prayer

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What Is The Essence Of Christian Prayer?

Christian prayer is a conversation with God that expresses our adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. In other words, Christian prayer involves praising God for who He is, acknowledging our sins and asking for forgiveness, thanking God for His blessings, and asking for help or guidance in our lives.

Prayer is an important part of the Christian faith, as it allows believers to deepen our relationship with God and to seek His will for our lives. Through prayer, Christians can offer our joys and concerns to God, seek comfort and guidance during difficult times, and express our love and gratitude for all that God has done for us.

Jesus himself emphasized the importance of prayer, both in his teachings and in his own life. He often withdrew to pray in solitude and encouraged his disciples to do the same. The Lord’s Prayer, which is a model prayer taught by Jesus, is widely used in Christian worship today.

Examples of Jesus at prayer to the Father include:

  1. Jesus prayed with reverence and submission: In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed: ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ (Luke 22:42) This prayer shows Jesus’ submission to the Father’s will, even in the face of great suffering.
  2. Jesus prayed with thanksgiving: In John 11:41-42, Jesus gave thanks to the Father before raising Lazarus from the dead. He said: ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.’
  3. Jesus prayed for others: In John 17, Jesus prayed for his disciples, asking the Father to protect them and to sanctify them. He also prayed for all believers, saying: ‘My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.’ (John 17:20)
  4. Jesus prayed with persistence: In the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8), Jesus taught his disciples the importance of persistent prayer. He said: ‘Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.’

Does The Rosary Help With Prayer?

With the rosary, we are at prayer with Mary, Mother of God. We seek most closely to identify ourselves with Mary, especially as Mary demonstrated her complete openness to God and submission to God’s will, in order to conceive of the Holy Spirit and bear Jesus. Mary’s faith in God was perfect. She is model to us all.

‘Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.’

Prayer with the rosary is beneficial in ways including:

  1. Focusing the mind: The repetition of prayers and the use of the beads can help to quiet the mind and create a sense of inner stillness. This can help the person praying to become more centered and focused on God, and to tune out distractions and worries.
  2. Meditating on key events: The rosary includes several different ‘mysteries’ or key events in the lives of Jesus and Mary, such as the Annunciation, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. As the person prays and meditates on each mystery, they can reflect on the deeper meaning and significance of these events and how they relate to their own life and faith.
  3. Seeking intercession: The rosary prayers are most clearly prayers for the intercession of Mary. By asking Mary for help and guidance, we open our minds to healing and to acceptance of Mary as a model for all Christians to imitate. Mary is uniquely placed to encourage our relationship with God.
  4. Honoring God the Father and Jesus: The rosary is ultimately a way of honoring the Father and Jesus and expressing gratitude for their love and sacrifice. By reciting prayers and meditating on key events in the life of Jesus, the person praying can deepen their relationship with God and Jesus and feel more connected to the larger Christian community.