Matthew 6:7-15: Babbling
When we read THE MESSAGE translation of these verses we hear an old story in a new way. Matthew speaks of ignorant prayer warriors and ineffective formulas, programs and advice. He says to us . . . don’t fall for this nonsense. Today we look at how, when, where and why we pray. And we ask that God give us a heart that is open to transformation through Christ.
Last summer I participated in a reflective writing group that focused solely on the Our Father and our gatherings were more gift than work. The beautiful simplicity of Jesus encourages us to offer God runs counter to the complications we find in our world and yet the words – when spoken quietly and carefully – can bring relief from fear and an opportunity for newness.
Today we invite ourselves to break the Our Father into its natural sentences to pray one at a time at half hour intervals. If our schedule today does not permit this practice, we might try this on a day when we have fewer obligations. For an additional layer of meaning and intensity, ask a friend to agree on a day and times when you might pray these beautiful words together without being in the same space. We know that with God, our location is unimportant for God is everywhere. It is perhaps for this reason that committing to prayer appointments with someone we trust brings us peace. It is a clear sign that God is with us. And it is a clear signal that our prayers need not be formulaic babbling.
Today, as we decide how to look at the Our Father prayer, we also remind ourselves of our Lenten practice for the week: Rather than thinking: “I am misunderstood,” let us think instead, “God is so understanding”.
Reflections on this special prayer are shared on the Abba Father page on this blog.
Tomorrow, demanding miracles.