18 June, Thursday — Our Lives Are One Big Prayer

Thursday of Week 11 in Ordinary Time

Sir 48:1-14
Mt 6:7-15

Your Father knows what you need before you ask him”

One of the positive outcomes of being in lock-down is the sheer amount of interaction that my wife and I have enjoyed with our 2-year-old son. And the most positive outcome of this increased interaction is that our son has now learnt to pray the Lord’s Prayer on his own. In fact, he often asks to pray it just as we are about to say grace before a meal. So we pray the Lord’s Prayer in thanksgiving before our meal.

Teaching a child how to pray really makes the prayer even more meaningful than just praying it on your own. Part of it has to do with how you need to go over every phrase slowly, as your child slowly picks up the words. Part of it is also related to the questions your child will surely ask you about this prayer (What is daily bread? What is trespasses?). If you think about it, these are highly complex theological questions that could spark off a massive debate.

But for a child, these are words to a prayer that his mummy and daddy have taught him to say. And this is a prayer that would supposedly get God’s attention (or so I tell him). And perhaps this is exactly what the Lord’s Prayer is to us. It is a prayer that Jesus has taught us to say, especially when we cannot find the words to articulate what exactly we want from our God.

I’ve certainly experienced many moments such as these. During my cancer treatment, a friend told me, “Don’t worry so much about praying. If you don’t feel like it, need to pray so much. This whole thing is already one big prayer”. He was right of course. There were some days when the pain and nausea were so great that I could not even finish one Hail Mary. There were some days that I missed my son so much that all I could say was the Lord’s Prayer.

There is no doubt that He knows what we need before we even ask Him. But perhaps it is also good for us to ask still, if we are able to. It is good for us, when we ask for God’s love and mercy, to remember humbly how dependent we are on Him. Even the very air that we breathe comes from Him. Yes, He already knows what we need. And yes, He will surely give it to us, just as a good father always gives his son what he needs. But surely, it can do no harm to ask. And if we cannot find the words in our pain or pride, then we can just start with Our Father.   

(Today’s Oxygen by Jacob Woo)

Prayer: Lord, we pray that You will continue to guide us in life and prayer, that we will continue to persist in living a life that is built on Your foundations.

Thanksgiving: Lord, we are thankful for the words that You have taught us to worship and honour You with. We are also thankful for the daily mercies that You continue to shower upon us, whether in good times or in bad.

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