He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Today I was struck by the very first line of the Gospel passage: “Jesus was praying.” He was praying when his disciples noticed and said, “teach me how!” Often, I forget in the busyness of life that teaching about prayer is not enough. My students and my sons respond best to the witness of a prayer-filled life. Last Sunday, my oldest son was actually paying close attention when we prayed the Our Father (he’s only 5) – he stared at me while I said the words. After it was done, he motioned for me to lean down and whispered in my ear: “We pray that prayer at school, mama.” It made me wonder, how often has he seen me pray the Our Father as well? Do I pray in secret or remember the communal aspect of prayer? After all, Jesus did not leave his disciples to pray alone.
When have I been a witness to others of a prayer-filled life? When have I prayed alongside my Lord?
—Gretchen Crowder is the Director of Campus Ministry at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Dallas.
Jesus, Join My Life to Yours
I want to unite my life to your life,
my thought to your thoughts,
my affections to your affections,
my heart to your heart,
my works to your works,
my whole self to your self,
in order to become through this union
more holy and more pleasing in the sight of your Father
and in order to make my life
more worthy of your grace
and of the reward of eternity.
I want to join your intentions to my intentions,
the holiness of your actions to mine
and the excellence of your lofty virtues
to the lowliness of mine.
For example, when I pray,
I will join the holiness of your prayer to mine:
in the totality of my life as well as in its every detail,
I will join the whole breadth and height
of your divine intentions
to whatever I have to do or to suffer.
I will join, if possible, your looks to my eyes,
your holy words to my tongue,
your meekness to my gentleness,
your humiliations and self-emptying to my humility,
in a word, your whole divine spirit to my actions:
and when, in some one of my works,
I discover something not inspired by your spirit
and which proceeds rather from my self-centeredness
or from some poorly mortified affection,
I will renounce it and disown it with my whole heart.
No, my Jesus, I promise myself to have nothing in me
which is not in union with your lofty virtues.
—Jean-Pierre Medaille, SJ
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