This is how we are to pray…

Daryl TanFeature

This is how we are to pray…

God forgives us when we do wrong, and His love sustains us throughout our lives. Receiving this love helps us to love others in turn, and to exercise generosity like He does. Rev Msgr Philip Heng, S.J. reflects on the prayer that Jesus taught us (Matthew 6:7-15).

In “The Lord’s Prayer”, Jesus taught us to first recognise that God is the Father. He reminds us that prayer is a conversation to deepen our relationship with God, and that we need to approach Him as His child. He is the fullness of love, a love so immense and unconditional that we live in gratitude of that love. When we pray, we are relating to this Almighty God, who desires for us to receive His love.

We forgive, because God forgives.
Since the Father loves all people, we are all one family. Every human person is a child of God, precious to Him, even the people who have hurt or wounded us, or caused us untold pain and suffering.

Jesus calls us to forgive just as our Heavenly Father forgives so that even in our sinfulness, we can be brought to a greater depth in our relationship with God. We become able to love as he loves, forgive as he forgives, because He Himself forgave those who persecuted him, which in a profound way brings us closer to Him. Love goes beyond hurts.

We are incomplete and finite. Our love for God cannot be deep until we learn to become more like Jesus by showing mercy.

Our daily needs
How is this love lived in this world while God has given us all the blessings we have received? The things we possess, the relationships we treasure, the experiences we value, the wealth we accumulate – these will pass and, in the end, not matter anymore.

Only one thing endures for all eternity: our relationship with God. Everything we receive comes from His loving hands. Who we are, and what we have now, are possible because of our relationship with Him.

In the miseries and trials of life, we can transcend our weakness and sinfulness, only if we are humble enough to recognise that we are sustained by God, the Giver of our gifts. When we ask God for our “daily bread”, we are asking in an attitude of thankfulness for all that he has already given us.

More than just our material and financial needs, we are asking for the wisdom and light to show reconciling love that brings about forgiveness, the peace to transcend hurts, and the grace to share the mercy and forgiveness that we have received from God.

When we recognise that God provides for all our needs, we begin to also understand that it was love that brought us into existence, and that this love continues to sustain us. We live in the hope of the kingdom of God and that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven – to love one another just as He loves us.

Expanding our hearts
We need to pray for the needs of our world, and for the needs of our archdiocese. We cannot grow in love if we are only thinking of our own needs and interests. In opening our hearts to the needs of others, our hearts begin to expand and become more like the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Only then can we grow in deeper appreciation of what Jesus’ love means.

Jesus came to reveal to us the Father’s will, so that we can witness to everyone His love that others eternal life. This eternal life begins here and now. When we face God after our last breath, He is going to ask us, “I have loved you tremendously throughout your life. How have you shown your love for me?” In the end, love is all that matters.

When we allow the truth of the Gospel to permeate our hearts, we can live in the fullness of love that Jesus wills of us. And when we allow the Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds and fi ll our hearts with the love that Jesus has shown us, we begin to love, just as our Heavenly Father loves us.