There is no need to fritter away words in order to pray: the Lord knows what we want to say to him. The important thing is that our first word be ‘Father’. Thus Pope Francis repeated Jesus’ advice to the Apostles when he gave them the Our Father, according the Evangelist Matthew’s account (6:7-15). In order to pray, there is no need to make noise or believe that it is better to use more words.

There is no need to trust in noise, the noise of worldliness. There is no need to heap up empty phrases: Jesus called this a characteristic of pagans.

Pope Francis went further, confirming that prayer must not be considered a magic formula: ‘Praying is not something magic; one doesn’t practice magic with prayer’.

So how should we pray? Jesus has taught us: ‘he says that the Father who is in heaven ‘knows what you need before you ask him’. Therefore, let our first word be ‘“Father”. This is the key to prayer. Without speaking, without feeling this word, praying is not possible’.

‘To whom do I pray? The almighty God? He is too far away. I don’t feel him; neither did Jesus feel him. To whom do I pray? The God of the cosmos? This is quite frequent nowadays, isn’t it? Praying to the cosmic God. This polytheistic model comes with a superficial culture’.

Father, we must ‘pray to the Father’, who begot us. But this is not all: we must pray ‘our’ Father, that is, not the Father of a generic and too anonymous ‘all’, but the One ‘who begot you, who gave you life, who gave life to you and me’.

 

Pope Francis MORNING MEDITATION IN THE CHAPEL OF THE DOMUS SANCTAE MARTHAE Thursday, 20 June 2013 as reported by L’Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n. 26, 26 June 2013.

This article can be found in Mirror 0715.