“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
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.
There’s a 1973 children’s book called Richard Scarry’s Please and Thank You Book. My favorite section is “Lowly Worm’s Horrid Pests” featuring various “pests” like Selfish Pest who doesn’t share, Grabby Pest who takes things that don’t belong to him, and Interrupting Pest who is taught to “say politely, ‘May I ask you something?’ Or, ‘May I tell you something…?’” When I was little, I thought that regardless of whether I was asking something of, or telling something to, an adult, I had to say, “may I ask you something or may I tell you something?” as one gigantic phrase. Learning how to navigate relationships is hard. Children look to the adults in their lives to teach them how to verbalize their needs and wants, convey their gratitude, and engage in relationships with others.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us how to pray – how to deepen our relationship with God. He tells us not to be a “Noisy Pest,” and instructs us to express our gratitude, articulate our needs, and seek forgiveness in the simplest terms possible, because God “knows what [we] need before [we] ask him.”
—Jackie Schulte is the Dean of Faculty Formation and a history teacher at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
—Mary Oliver, ThirstPlease share the Good Word with your friends!