Last Monday, we took an overall look at the prayer Jesus taught his disciples. Let’s do that again…

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 today our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses 
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil. 

Today, we will pray this prayer together again. This time, I’d like to focus on one specific aspect of the prayer. Specifically, let’s look at the opening.

“Our Father,..”
I love that the prayer starts out “Our Father” instead of just “Father.” Why? Because when I pray “Our Father” I remember that I am not alone; that I am part of a whole family of sisters and brothers who are on this same journey with me. Whatever burden or joy I bring to a time of prayer, I can safely bet another sister or brother is sharing the same burden or joy. In fact, the remainder of the prayer is in prayed that way – “Give us” instead of “Give me.” “Forgive us” instead of “forgive me.” “Lead us” instead of “lead me.” You and I are not alone on this journey.

As we pray today, be reminded that you are one of God’s many children and that, as part of His Family, you are not alone in your joys or struggles.

FIRST TIME – Just read it or recite it naturally and at whatever pace you naturally move at. Then give yourself a moment and take a few breaths before doing it again.

SECOND TIME – More slowly this time, read or recite the prayer and pay attention to the images, thoughts and feelings that might pop up as you do. Did someone else come to mind? Is someone else coming to mind right now?  Is there a line in the prayer that catches you? Don’t think about why you’re seeing, thinking or feeling these things… just pay attention.

Then, after that second pass through. Take a longer pause and focus on that image or thought (or name or face) or the line from the prayer that jumped out at you. Ask the Spirit of God to speak to you about what that means for you.

Then, take another long breath and ready yourself for your third pass.

THIRD TIME – Keeping the thought or image in mind that jumped out at you, read or recite the prayer one last time, even more slowly and then give yourself the gift of silence for a few breaths.

Before you leave this time, ask the Spirit of God to continue speaking to you about whatever image or thought may have jumped out at you. Perhaps ask “Why is that person on my mind?” or “Is there a course of action I am supposed to take on their behalf?”

You may want to use a journal to capture any stay thoughts or record your experience. Sometimes, coming back to what we’ve written later means seeing what it is we were hearing, seeing, feeling more clearly.