Key Text

Matthew 6:1-15

Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.

But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.

But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
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.

cited from the NRSV

Image of the week

August 31, 2005

For the previous image (31 July 2005), click here.

 

Present Context

For Reflection

So many words dominate the average notion of prayer: if only we can phrase our concerns the right way... if only we can get the right formula to elicit a response from God ...

The deepest desires of our hearts are barely able to be expressed in words. When we are truly moved, or reaching into the deepest place, words always seem to fail.

Perhaps our deepest prayers then emerge from the silent yearnings of our hearts, echoing from the essence of who we are.

Is true prayer, then, simply allowing that level of honesty which lets these stand before God?

 

Prayer:
O God, you are my God,
and I long for you.

My whole being desires you;

like a dry, worn-out, and waterless land,
my soul is thirsty for you.

Let me see you in the sanctuary;
let me see how mighty and glorious you are.

Your constant love is better than life itself,
and so I will praise you.