A big step in growing deeper in our discipleship of Jesus is acknowledging, in all humility, that God gives us everything. Every single thing we have and all we are is because of God’s gracious generosity. When we embrace this truth, we can’t help but be overwhelmed with gratitude and awe. As Disciples, we want to try to emulate Him. We wonder how we should respond to all these blessings.
The Psalmist asks the question for us, “How can I repay the Lord for all the great good done for me (Ps 116:12)?” Thankfully, the Church gives us the template of how to respond. She gives us the three pillars of how we put our faith into practice: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving.
I know I need to pray more. One of my Lenten sacrifices this year is to give up crossword puzzles, and instead, spend that time in prayer. Prayer purifies our intentions and relates everything we do to God. Jesus gives us the ultimate prayer in Matthew 6:9-15, the Lord’s Prayer. This is the most complete prayer we could ever pray, bringing us into a closer, more intimate relationship with God, our Father. We pray it so often that it may seem rote. But, let’s dig into some of the phrases to consider how the Our Father leads us to grow deeper in our discipleship.
Our Father (6:9). The opening phrase states right off the bat who we are. We are God’s children. As children, we are heirs to all of God’s promises, the best of which is eternal life with Him if we believe, if we have faith in Him. We can be sure of His love. We can trust in His care for us.
Thy will be done (6:10). Not my will. God’s will. My faith in Him allows me to trust that His will is better, bigger, and perfect for me. I do well when obedient to Him, even when I think I’d rather do something different.
Give us this day our daily bread (6:11). God provides. God will provide. We can depend on Him. He is the source of every breath we take, of every minute we have, of every measure of talent that we use, of every dime of treasure that we earn.
Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors (6:12). Forgive and be forgiven. Forgive and be at peace.
I plan to spend more time in prayer. I hope you do, too. And I hope this becomes a habit beyond Lent. Let’s be more intentional when praying the Our Father. Let’s resolve to be more trusting of Him, more obedient, forgiving, and dependent. Then after praying the prayer, let’s sit in quiet, soaking in His love, and listening for Him to tell us how to be a better disciple – a better steward.