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"This Is How You Are To Pray…"

Did you ever have one of those days when you just “can’t pray”? You try and try, but the words aren’t there. When faced with this situation, we often give up and figure that we can try again tomorrow. By doing this, we overlook the power and efficacy of formal prayer.

In her autobiography The Story Of A Soul, St. Therese of Lisieux writes, “I say an Our Father or a Hail Mary when I feel so spiritually barren that I cannot summon up a single worthwhile thought. These two prayers fill me with rapture and feed and satisfy my soul.”

In the Sermon On The Mount, Jesus warned against “babbling like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words” (Mt 6:7). Often Our Lord’s words are misinterpreted as a condemnation of formal prayer, but nothing could be further from the truth. Rather than condemning formal prayer, Our Lord taught us a formal prayer and held it up as as an example of how we are to pray!

Even on those days when the “words come easy” and we have no problem conversing with the Lord, we should make time to work the Our Father into our daily prayers. For when we pray it slow and pay attention to the words, we’ll be fulfilling Our Lord’s instructions, “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. Amen.

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