The Our Father is the first prayer that many of us learned. It is still many people’s favourite prayer. It was given to us by Jesus and it is the prayer that Jesus prayed many times in his own lifetime. The Our Father was given to the Apostles in the midst of Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem where he suffered and died.
The Our Father is a very complex prayer and contains depths of spirituality. In the first part of the prayer we ask that God’s Kingdom would come, that his will be done and that he would give us our daily bread.
A very important teaching of the Our Father is that God will “Forgive us our Trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Just as there can be no life without food, there can be no life without forgiveness. Without forgiveness our world would be a place of hatred, revenge and retaliation. It would be a world full of fear and dread. Without forgiveness we cannot let go of hurt and resentment. With forgiveness we return to the same one road and we continue to travel together. The world of forgiveness is a world where there is a renewal of life, peace and hope. When we forgive others who have wronged us, we are open to God’s mercy towards us and we become channels of God’s mercy towards others. We give to others the gift of forgiveness that God has given us.
The Our Father continues, ‘Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil’ When we pray not to be led into temptation we ask God not to put us to the test. A test in the bible is a trial to see how faithful we are. God tested Abraham when he asked him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. In this part of the Our Father we are asking God to save us from moments in life when we are tempted to choose something other than our loyalty to God. We conclude the Our Father by asking God to deliver us from evil.
The Our Father is the most beautiful prayer that we have. Every time we pray the Our Father we reflect on how we all belong to the one human family.