If there is one thing I find in common, no matter which community of fellow believers I am in, it is the awkward, sometimes fearful, I’m-not-sure-how to do this, thoughts we have about prayer. Admit it. You’ve stood in a prayer circle at one point and realized it would be your turn soon. As your hands begin to sweat you no longer hear the prayers of others because your mind is concentrating on crafting just the right words while simultaneously tracking how many people are left before it’s your turn. By then you’re so worked up you just squeeze the person’s hand on the right as a pass-the-buck sign, grateful your heart rate is slowly resuming a regular pace. The sense of relief is mingled with a slight taste of failure. Why can’t I pray like that?
Dearest Favored One, do you remember Christ’s closest friends asked for one thing. Teach us to pray. This year of following Him has drawn me deeper into prayer than ever before. I am beginning to understand the teachings of saints who have gone before, that prayer is the ultimate work of God’s people. While there are as many ways to pray as there are purposes and desires fueling them, today I want to share the teaching of a friend of mine. St. Francis of Assisi
You already know him, but I bet you didn’t know he is still in the business of teaching us about God and following hard after Him. I have sought him out, like I have so many other great teachers through time, and continue to learn from his strength and mighty love for Christ just how to live in this world and love only God. I use the Book of Common Prayer for morning, afternoon, and evening prayers. I use St. Francis’s Meditation on the Lord’s Prayer at the closing of each prayer time. Call me a dreamer, but there is something larger than me when I join with fellow believers around the world using these same words to bless, adore, and glorify God. I’m sharing this meditation with you today Favored One. I have changed most Thy’s and Thou’s and unto’s to modern language. I hope you are blessed.
O Most Holy Our Father: Creator, Redeemer, Consoler and Our Savior.
Who art in Heaven: in the Angels and in the Saints; enlightening them in knowledge, because You, Lord, are Light, inflaming them in love, because You, Lord, are Love; indwelling and filling them in blessedness, because You, Lord, are the Highest Good, the Eternal One, from whom is every good, without whom nothing is good.
Hallowed be Thy Name: may the knowledge of You in us be made bright, so that we may know, what is the breadth of Your benefactions, the length of Your promises, the sublimity of Your Majesty and the depth of Your judgments.
The Kingdom come: so that You may reign in us by grace and make us come to Your Kingdom, where vision of You is made manifest, love of You made perfect, company with You blessed, enjoyment of You everlasting.
Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven: so that we may love You with our whole heart by thinking of You always, with our whole soul by desiring You always, with our whole mind directing to You all our intentions, by seeking Your honor in all things and with all our strength by expending all our strength and sense of soul and body in submission to Your love and not in anything else; and may we love our neighbors even as our very selves by drawing all to Your love to the extent of our strength, by rejoicing over the good things of others just as over our own and by compassionating them in evils and by giving offense to no one.
Give us this day, Your Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Our Daily Bread: to remember and understand and reverence the love, which He had for us, and those things, which He said, did or endured on our behalf.
And forgive us our debts: by Your ineffable Mercy, and through the virtue of the Passion of Your Beloved Son and by the merits and intercession of the Blessed Virgin and all Your elect.
As we also forgive our debtors: and what we do not fully forgive, Lord, make us fully forgive, so that we may truly love our enemies for the sake of You and intercede devoutly on their behalf with You, rendering to none evil for evil and striving in all things to advance to You.
And lead us not into temptation: hidden or manifest, sudden or importune.
But deliver us from the evil: past, present, and future.
Glory be to the Father.
For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory. Forever. Amen.