Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
This is one of the most classic segments of scripture. Most every Christian knows the Our Father, as it is one of the most basic prayers they learned as a kid. But there’s so much more to this reading than just a prayer we recite often. There are two main things that I think often go unnoticed, but are supper important.
First is the fact that the Our Father is not just a prayer, it is a structure for prayer. It starts off like all prayer should... recognize who we are as God’s children, and who God is. This sets the tone for all good prayer. Next, we ask God to help transform our wills to His so that we can love like Him and rejoice in His joy here on earth, as we will in heaven. Then we ask God for the things we need; physically and spiritually. Next, we forgive and ask forgiveness (we will come back to this in a minute). Finally, we ask God to protect us against our biggest temptations and bring us back into union with Him. This is a beautiful prayer, but it is a simple structure for us to pray in as well, even with our own words.
The second main takeaway is a little more obvious... forgiveness. What does it mean to forgive? It’s so hard for us to actually forgive someone because we often relate forgiveness with a mended relationship, and that is not always the case. If it is healthy and possible to, then sure, go ahead and mend the relationship! But the forgiveness we are called to is to will the good of the other person, aka heaven. It’s hard to say, “I hope you go to heaven” to someone who has really hurt you, but that is the love and forgiveness God gives us everyday, even as we continue to nail our sin deeper into His hands and feet on the Cross. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” These are the words of Jesus about the very men who are killing Him and He says the same to us. But are we willing to say the same about other people?
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
What does my prayer life look like right now?
How often do I struggle with forgiveness? Why is that?
How is my view of forgiveness shaped by God's love?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"Thy will be done."
"Help me to love like you."
"Give me the grace to forgive."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Let your prayer today be guided by the Our Father. Follow the structure laid out in the meditation to help you pray as Jesus teaches you how to pray!
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"Today's prayer was prepared by Sean Norris, a theology teacher at JSerra Catholic High School in Orange County, CA.
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