Significance of the Our Father Prayer
“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.” (RSVCSE)
This week’s session is the final session for the Catechism 2020-2021 year. The Lord’s Prayer or also called the Our Father has been a prayer said by Christians since Jesus directed his followers to do. Learning about the Lord’s Prayer is a continuation of the discussion of why prayer is so integral to one’s spiritual fulfillment.
Prayer is the lifting of our mind and heart to God. It is God’s gift to us that builds our relationship with him. (cf. nos. 2559, 2565)
There are five different forms or purposes of prayer.
- Blessing or Adoration with this prayer we are adoring God our Creator. Ex: “Blessed be God forever!”
- Thanksgiving with this prayer we are expressing our gratitude to God. Ex: Psalm 118:1 “Give thanks to the Lord, who is good, whose love endures forever.”
- Petition with this prayer we are asking God for what we need. This includes forgiveness. Ex: “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
- Intercession with this prayer we are asking God to help other people. During Mass we pray intercessions for the Church, leaders, the sick, and those who have died. Ex: “For peace throughout the world, that all leaders of prayer may be open to the hungers of their people for justice and reconciliation, let us pray to the Lord…
- Praise with this prayer we are expressing our admiration for what God does and who he is. Ex: Psalm 96:3 “Tell God’s glory among the nations; among all peoples, God’s marvelous deeds.”
When we talk about the Lord’s Prayer we are really taking a look at the beginning. Prayer instruction right from the source: Jesus. It was the Apostles who asked Jesus to teach them how to pray and Jesus responded with giving us the Our Father. (See reflection above.) Catholics call this the perfect prayer because it was taught by Jesus, a prayer from the mouth of God. It is from this prayer that we base all other prayers. We use the form of the Our Father as inspiration to create new prayers.
In the Our Father we first focus on God’s glory and pray that his name be made holy, that his kingdom come, and that his will be carried out. Then we present our needs to God, praying that we may be nourished and forgiven, and may triumph over evil. (cf. no. 2857)
The first Christians prayed the Our Father three times a day. We can pray the Our Father at any time. Present day we pray the Our Father at Mass, in the Divine Office, in the rosary, the Divine Mercy chaplet, and many other times. The Lord’s Prayer has seven petitions. 1-3 are about God, 4-7 are about our needs. You may find this similar to how the 10 Commandments were ordered: the first three devoted to God the last devoted to people.
- Our Father: At baptism we became God’s adopted children and are one family bound together as brothers and sisters. He is “our” Father not just “my” Father.
- Who art in heaven: Heaven is wherever God is and this is our destiny as God intends.
- Hallowed be thy name: We praise God by declaring he is holy and pray that everyone lives in a way that glorifies God.
- Thy kingdom come: In God’s kingdom all people live in love there are no enemies. We pray that this kingdom may come in its fullness while we wait for the Lord’s return at the end of time.
- Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven: We pray that people on earth will serve and honor God so that we can experience the joy of God’s kingdom. Jesus and Mary show us how to live.
- Give us this day our daily bread: We ask God to give us what we need each day. Bread refers to the Word of God and the Bread of the Eucharist which nourishes us.
- And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us: Trespasses = sin. We ask God to forgive our sins in the same way that we are willing to forgive others.
- And lead us not into temptation: People, places, and things can tempt us or lead us into sin. We ask God to strengthen and protect us from these things.
- But deliver us from evil: We ask God to save us from all evil and especially Satan.
The Church of the Pater Noster on the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem is where we believe Jesus taught the Our Father to his followers. The Lord’s Prayer is written on the cave walls in nearly every language, even Braille. (Following the links will give you some more background on this church.)
Watch: Here is a short video on the Our Father from Bishop Barron. For the younger children they can watch this very short 1 minute video God, How you Did Begin our Church? from a series based on children’s books. Another suggestion is to watch this 5 minute video The Lord’s Prayer: Reflection on the Changes explained by Dr. Mark Giszczak, associate professor of Sacred Scripture at the Augustine Institute. This 8 minute video, Prayer Continued on making time to pray, about Father Kapaun’s method to stay close to Christ on the battlefield is very insightful. In Prayer: A Surge of the Heart, this 38 minute video discusses ways to build time for prayer in your life. The surest way to place God at the center of our family is through frequent and sincere family prayer time.
Adults Read: Our Father: Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer by Pope Francis, Understanding “Our Father”: Biblical Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer by Scott Hahn,
Children Read: Listening For God: Silence Practice for Little Ones by Katie Warner
Vocabulary words to discuss with your child: Triduum is three days of prayer. Octave is eight days of prayer. Novena is nine days of prayer.
Prayer of the Week: Our Father
Saint of the Week: The Feast of Saint Damien of Molokai is on May 10. St. Damien is the patron saint of people suffering from leprosy. Born Joseph DeVeuster in Belgium his journey to Hawaii is where his vocation as a priest of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary has made him known as a man of mercy. St. Damien sacrificed his life and health to become a spiritual father to the victims of leprosy quarantined on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. The island’s paradise is a wonder of natural beauty but it was a dreadful place for the people forced to quarantine on the island. It didn’t take long for Molokai to become a wasteland in human terms. The leprosy victims of Molokai faced hopeless conditions and extreme deprivation, sometimes lacking not only basic palliative care but even the means of survival. Many were far too sick to care for themselves and those who were capable were too fraught with hopeless to be of service. This left many people laying around on the ground until they passed away. The inhabitants of Molokai saw the difference in the new young priest’s approach. St. Damien chose to embrace the people of Molokai and he put his efforts to improve their living conditions. A strong man, accustomed to physical labor as a farmer, he performed the Church’s traditional works of mercy: feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and giving proper burial to the dead. All of this St. Damien did with great risk to his own health. After sixteen years in the colony, Fr. Damien succumbed to Hansen’s disease on April 15, 1889. He was 49 years old. St. Damien of Molokai was beatified in 1995. Pope Benedict XVI canonized him in 2009. The day of his passing, April 15, is a minor statewide holiday in Hawaii. This saint is near and dear to our hearts as this was the name we chose for our son, Damien, who is now 8 months old.
Homework is complete for the 2020-2021 Catechism Year.
Suggestions for summer continued learning:
- We recommend continue practicing your Catholic prayers. Those children in the first grade we really can’t emphasize this enough. The prayers we worked on this year will be the same for next year. The Sign of the Cross, Guardian Angel, Glory Be, Hail Mary, Our Father, and Act of Contrition. Learning the Centurion’s prayer should be one for all ages as this is one we say at every Mass. For the older children consult the prayer list for your grade level.
- Read about saints. Choose books, the Bible, or Catholic websites. See Mrs. Fredlake’s CCD Books list for some ideas. Many of these books have been used with this course and many are great resources.
- Visit local Catholic sites such as: the LHS gardens and shrine of St. Benedict, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, St. John Paul II National shrine, Shrine of St. Anthony, National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Mary’s shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, National Shrine of St Elizabeth Ann Seton, Shrine of the Little Flower, St. Jude Shrine, Baltimore Basilica, National Shrine of St Alphonsus, and many more across the country. We have personally visited many of these listed and highly recommend planning a day trip for your family.
Activity Ideas: To go along with the season we are in there are many options for you to do with the children.
- Our Father Roll a Prayer worksheet
- Lord’s Prayer cut and paste activity
- Our Father coloring page
- Lord’s Prayer activity pack (pay resource for ages 5-8)
- Make a Prayer Pail
- May is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary: Paper Mary vase, some more Roses to color,
- How And Why To Celebrate Pentecost With Your Kids Pentecost is May 23, 2021
- Feast of Corpus Christi will be on June 3, 2021
Applying your faith family activity: The Easter Season ends with the Feast of Pentecost. This is celebrated 50 days Easter. Watch Day of Pentecost to learn more about the significance of Pentecost. Pentecost is sometimes called the “Confirmation” of the Church or the “Baptism” of the Church. The Church was born on Calvary when the side of Jesus was pierced and the blood and water flowed from his wound. On Pentecost the Holy Spirit comes down upon Mary and the Apostles and they understand their mission and go out into the world to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Red is the color of the Pentecost season. A simple activity is to serve a red themed food. Many families make a Jello Poke Cake with red jello, then head over to Catholic Inspired and print out their Catholic Church Birthday Party cake topper. Cupcakes are another option. You can frost them with flame like frosting (This video shows how.) or with red frosting on top adding flame cupcake toppers could be a fun way to celebrate. If you want to be thrifty having children make flame cupcake toppers would be a great activity. Here’s a flame template to color. Have the children color the flames, cut out two matching flames per topper, and glue a toothpick between the two cutouts. Let dry then add to cupcakes, muffins, or what ever you want to make it an easy Pentecost decoration.
“The mission of the family is to guard, reveal, and communicate love.” -Saint Pope John Paul II