When the Our Father Gets Stale

From Flickr User Artiii
Stale Bread from Flickr User Artiii

Yesterday at Mass, we heard Jesus teaching his followers the Our Father in response to their request to learn how to pray.  That brought back a memory from my pre-friar days.

We had gathered together in Resurrection of Our Lord Church in Laurel, MD to celebrate the “Presentation of the Our Father.”  The pastor began reading the Gospel of Matthew:

“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.

Right after the words, “who art in heaven,” muscle memory kicked in.  Everyone present in the Church: candidates, sponsors, RCIA team members, parishioners joined in the praying of the Our Father as the pastor continued to attempt to read the Gospel.

Lent seems, as good a time as ever, to recalibrate one’s praying voice.  This doesn’t mean tossing out prayers that seem stale to us: the reason for prayers going stale, I’d say, is not the fault of the prayers, but rather us – the pray-ers!




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