Our Father Prayer - An Examination
This entry was posted on February 20, 2014.
The Our Father Prayer, also known as the Lord’s Prayer, is the prayer said at the beginning of the Rosary directly after The Apostles’ Creed, and is right before the three Hail Marys. It is also the prayer that begins each decade.
Catholics, and even non-catholic Christians, claim that the Our Father is the most beloved of prayers in the Catholic Church’s treasury; it was taught to the Apostles by the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. (Matt 6:9-13) Since the Our Father is the response to the Apostles’: “teach us to pray, ” we can be assured that it is powerful and is the most perfect of prayers. There is so much depth to this prayer that The Catechism of the Catholic Church devotes one of its four parts to examining it. Many argue that it is the summary of the gospels. St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas praise it:
Run through all the words of the Holy prayers [in Scripture], and I do not think you will find anything in them that is not contained and included in the Lord’s Prayer. (Ep. 130, 12, 22: PL 33, 503)
The Lord’s Prayer is the most perfect of prayers… In it we ask, not only for all the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired. The prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also in what order we should desire them. (Summa II-II, 83, 9)
Let us look at its structure more closely by breaking down the prayer.
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name;
Here God’s name is praised and sanctified.
Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
It is asked next that His Glory and our salvation comes to its fulfillment. That is, that all people respond to Will of God and not against It. We additionally make known our personal desire for our own individual participation in It.
Give us this day our daily bread;
In this supplication for daily needs to be met, we are making an act of trust that God will provide. The daily bread also refers to the daily reception of the Eucharist. (“Do this in memory of Me.” 1 Corinthians 11:24)
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;
Here we beg for God’s mercy asking forgiveness for all the times that we stray from His Will. We also ask here for the grace to forgive those who have injured us.
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
This one is tricky because it sounds like God wants to tempt us, but we are actually asking God to preserve us from eternal damnation by requesting the graces of discernment and diligence.
Lastly, the word “amen” means “so be it.” Upon asking for everything that is necessary, and uniting our wills to God’s, we close our prayer with confidence.