Today we are going to talk about prayer. Have you ever seen people pray? Some pray often, while others never pray. But, what is “praying”? It is talking to God; a little like when you phone a friend. You can’t see him but you know that he can hear you. Recently a child told me: – I don’t know how to pray. I don’t know what to say. Do you know that the disciples asked the very same question? One day they said to Jesus: – Teach us to pray. We will tell you how Jesus answered them.

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Imagine, Peter, John, Andrew, Philip and the other disciples often saw Jesus praying. Very early in the morning, he used to go to a quiet place on His own. At other times it was in the evening when everything was quiet. Sometimes He would pray all night. It is hard to understand why Jesus needed to pray so often, just like the disciples needed to sleep or breathe. His prayers could also be very simple and very short. Of course, the disciples prayed too, but they understood that something was missing. One day, one of them decided to tell Jesus about it: – Lord, he said to him, teach us to pray. – When you pray, Jesus told them, do not pray so that others will see you and say “Oh, didn’t they pray well!” But go into your room, close the door and pray to God who is there. he will hear you and he will answer you. When you pray, don’t repeat the same things over and over again, without thinking about what you say. Before you talk to him, God already knows all that you need, all that is necessary for your life. Speak to him using your own words, simply and with a sincere heart. The disciples listened attentively. They wanted to remember all the words of Jesus. Jesus continued and said to them: – This is how you should pray! “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil one: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever. Amen. The disciples were astonished; they learned that we can call the Almighty God, who is in heaven, our Father! Jesus told them that He wanted to welcome them as His children. But we must address Him with a great deal of respect, with even more respect than we address our parents. We can ask Him to help us to obey Him, just like the angels in the heaven obey Him. Jesus encouraged them to ask for everything that they needed for their daily life, work, food, clothing, both for themselves and for their families. He also recommended them to ask God for forgiveness, with a sincere heart, for all those that they have hurt. Not to forget the fact that they must also forgive those who have hurt them, who have hurt them and who ask for their forgiveness. The disciples knew perfectly well that the devil exists and that he was constantly trying to lead men to doubt the love of God and disobey, but Jesus told them to ask God to protect them from the devil. Finally, Jesus reminded them that God, our Father, is also the Almighty King who reigns over the entire universe.

1, 2 3, 4 AND YOU AND ME! Jesus encouraged his disciples to pray, to speak to God their Father and He gave them a model “Our Father”. This model, applies both to you and to me. Do you always have to repeat this prayer all the time? No, you don’t, but you can learn it by heart, for it will help you when you pray. If you’ve never prayed, I encourage you to start. You can speak to your heavenly Father using your words, and tell him what is in your heart, in your mind, using simple words. For those of you who already pray, I encourage you to continue to do so, because your Father is listening to you and at the right time He will answer you and give you what He knows is best. You will find the “Our Father” at the beginning of chapter 11 of Luke’s Gospel. In our next shows, we will see what Jesus continued to teach his disciples about prayer.

4, 3, 2, 1 AND WE PARENTS! How can we encourage our children to pray? By can talk about it with them over several days. We can examine the different teachings given by Jesus, one by one, for example: how we should pray, that Jesus tells us to pray in a quiet place, that we should pray simply, using our own words, that we should place our trust in God, and that we can say the prayer “Our Father”, of course. By sharing these teachings with them in this way, we can help them to understand and put into practice, what the Lord taught us about prayer. Our children will appreciate being accompanied and encouraged by their parents. Why not also help them to learn the “Our Father” by heart? When they see us and hear us praying, they will understand the importance of praying aloud to our Heavenly Father.