Father James Swanson, LC
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praying in a certain place, and when he had
finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach
us to pray just as John taught his disciples."
He said to them, "When you pray, say: Father,
hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each
day our daily bread and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test."
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the master of the
universe, and yet you wish to listen to me
and guide me. You know all things past, present
and future, and yet you respect my freedom to choose
you. Holy Trinity, you are completely happy and fulfilled
on your own, and yet you have generously brought
us into existence. You are our fulfillment. Thank you for
the gift of yourself. I offer the littleness of
myself in return, knowing you are pleased with what
I have to give.
Petition: Lord, teach me through the
“Our Father” to pray more deeply.
1. Traditional Prayers
Teach Us the Correct Attitudes to Have towards God:
What better prayer could we devise than a prayer
using the very words Jesus taught us here? Yet the
“Our Father” is a traditional prayer, a prayer with
set words, prone to be recited merely by rote.
But in fact, traditional prayers are an invitation to meditate,
set up in a way that appeals to beginners.
In the “Our Father”, as in all traditional prayers,
we repeat phrases that express the essence of a correct
relationship with God. Whether we already hold these attitudes
in our heart or not, the beauty of traditional
prayers is not what we say, but how we say
it. If we pray these words, trying to make
them our own, conforming our heart to the attitudes
they express, then little by little we will form a
Christian heart, a heart that loves the way it
2. Traditional Prayers Can Change My Heart and Draw
It to God: When I first turned to the Lord,
I had a lot to work on. Most people
do. I didn’t love the way I should have. I
was flawed in many other ways. One of the
things that helped me was the “Our Father” as well
as other traditional prayers. When we first come to
the Lord, we don’t know how Christians should think,
what attitudes a Christian should hold. When we pray the
“Our Father” from the heart, it helps our heart
to change, to become more Christ-like. It takes only
a moment to pray an “Our Father”, but from time
to time, we should meditate on the words. Say
each phrase and repeat it, not moving on to the
next phrase until we feel that we have really
gotten to the bottom of what it is saying.
3 Traditional Prayers Fight Off the Attitudes of the World:
Our conversion to Christ is a change of attitudes
from those of the world to those of a
Christian. Every day, the world proposes its attitudes as something
good that should be lived. But often what the
world proposes as good is actually harmful to us.
How do we resist? By constantly repeating to myself and
meditating on Christian attitudes. This is what can happen
in using traditional prayers. It is a way of
helping our heart understand and embrace the Christianity we profess.
The Christian who disdains traditional prayers is rejecting a
powerful tool of conversion.
Conversation with Christ: Dear
Jesus, too often I rattle off my prayers without
thinking about the attitudes they contain. I want to
get the full benefit of all the prayers I say
every day. I want to pray these prayers more
often, especially the “Our Father,” since it is the
prayer that you, yourself, taught me.
Resolution: Today I
will pray my traditional prayers with special attention and
with the conviction that they will instruct me and
change me in a way that leads me closer to