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Matthew 6:14-15 — A Reason for Hope with Don Patterson

Daily Reflection – 2/23/2021

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to his disciples: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This is how you are to pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6:7-15)

Reflection

For so many of us, the Lord’s Prayer is the prayer of our childhood. We learned it in Sunday School, we said it with our parents; it’s one of the few parts of the church life that some of us know by heart. If someone asks us to pray, most of us could muster up the Lord’s Prayer to say. But here’s the weird truth. It’s not a prayer. It’s teaching about prayer. If you look closely at Matthew chapter 6, you’ll see that Jesus is not praying, but teaching.

The Lord’s Prayer is in the section where Jesus is teaching his disciples how to develop a righteousness or spirituality that God approves. He does this by teaching The Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s prayer is not a prayer to say, but a way to pray. It’s the scaffolding for building a life of prayer.

Jesus is mindful that most prayers fall into two categories, attempts to impress people and attempts to manipulate God. So many of us approach prayer as if it is nothing but either ceremony or an opportunity to ask the Divine Genie to fulfill our wishes. Whether prayer is an act of public piety intended to enhance your reputation, or prayer is a set of incantations meant to tweak the universe to your liking, Jesus condemns both as falling short of real and true prayer.

That’s inviting Jesus to enter our lives, but only allowing Him as far as the entry way. We want him in our lives, but not too far in.

Prayer is the avenue for asking God, who is our Father to bring his will to our lives. And then through our lives he begins to fill our world with his love and grace, truth and peace.

Do you believe that? I do. But here is what that says about you and me.  If we take on the reign and rule of God, we become adopted by God. And as God’s children we are called to work with our Father in the “family business” of spreading His love and Holy Will.

Ooops. Look where that leads us. We are supposed to live our lives as His children. Loving others . . . AND . . . forgiving others.

Forgiveness must become for us as much a lifestyle as grievance collecting tends to become a lifestyle for the unforgiving. Once is not enough!

The way of forgiveness is not one decisive battle. It is a running fight. We will constantly be confronted by occasions in which we must forgive and forgive again.

In this season of Lent, let us remember that forgiveness is a path that we take.  A path that takes us on a journey of reflection, deepening our self-knowledge, strengthening our relationship with Christ and most importantly increasing our love for God, for ourselves and for our neighbors.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, teach me to pray simply, sincerely, and with an open heart. Give me the grace to surrender to you in prayer”.

Daily Note

Forgiveness. That is the point of our secret spirituality, becoming a person who can forgive those who have harmed us, because forgiveness is the activity that is most like Jesus himself.

When Jesus invites us into his Kingdom, he calls us to turn from our ways of living without God and to now live under his reign and rule. Jesus then invites us into a deep spiritual relationship with Him that absolutely transforms our lives. Prayer is about making us Kingdom people who are like Jesus in every way, the hallmark of our lives being our forgiving others the way we have been forgiven.

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