Jesus said to his disciples: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. “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.” If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6:7-15)
In this perfect prayer given to us by Jesus, we dare to call God “Our Father” and ask Him for help. When praying, Our Father already knows what we need. We do not need to speak excessively of our wishes but simply pray that His will be done. Like a loving Father, he answers our prayers mercifully by giving us what we need instead of what we deserve. By giving our will over to His, we trust that what we need will be given to us, even if it does not appear in the way in which we expected.
In this perfect prayer, we beseech God to take certain actions in the world. Interestingly, the only action we ourselves are called to undertake is to forgive others. Specifically, we ask for forgiveness under certain conditions: we ask Our Father to forgive us in the same way that we forgive others. The measure by which we forgive others will be the measure by which Our Father forgives us. In other words, we are judged by how much mercy we show to others and by the amount of love we put into the world. Love is the measure by which we are judged. The amount of mercy shown to us at our judgment is directly affected by the amount of mercy we show our neighbor.
If there is a person who has wronged you or someone in the world whose actions you judge harshly, ask yourself whether you desire to seek justice or forgiveness for them. When thinking of this person, is it vengeance and atonement you would like to see, or mercy and conversion? Are you prepared to have this same measure of mercy, or lack thereof, applied to yourself? Pray often and sincerely for the conversion of sinners, especially those most in need of God’s mercy.
Copyright 2022 Jessica Tucker