Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Monday 27 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Vincent de Paul
home iconChurch
line break icon

None of us would have dared to pray like this, Francis says


Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA | I.MEDIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 12/12/18

But God wants us willing to tell him anything and everything

Pope Francis thinks that if Christ hadn’t taught us the Our Father, none of us would have ever dared to pray such a prayer.

The pope said this today as he took up the Our Father in his second Wednesday audience catechesis session on the topic.


Read more:
Do you wish you REALLY knew how to pray? Pope begins new series on learning how

Francis noted how the Our Father has seven petitions, a biblical number that refers to completeness, as in the seven days of creation with the sabbath.

“If Christ had not suggested it, probably none of us – or rather, none of the most famous theologians – would have dared to pray to God in this manner,” the pope said, affirming that Jesus invites the disciples to address God with confidence.

He does not say to address God as “Almighty,” “Most High,” “You, Who are so distant from us, I am a wretch”: No, He does not say this, but simply, “Father,” with simplicity, as children address their dad. And this word “Father” expresses confidence and filial trust.

The pope reflected on how the Our Father is rooted in our concrete needs, such as daily food, a petition that shows “that faith is not a decorative [addition], detached from life, which intervenes only when all other needs have been satisfied. If anything, prayer begins with life itself.”

Prayer – Jesus teaches us – does not begin in human existence once the stomach is full: rather, it is there wherever there is a man, any man who is hungry, who weeps, who struggles, who suffers and asks himself why. Our first prayer, in a certain sense, was the cry that accompanied our first breath. In that newborn cry the destiny of all our life is announced: our continual hunger, our continual thirst, our search for happiness.


Read more:
Francis says we all must do something for the “invisible ones”: the unborn, those who can’t live in dignity

Francis explained that Jesus doesn’t want to “extinguish the human” with prayer. “He does not want us to dampen our demands and requests, learning to bear everything. Instead He wants every suffering, every disquiet, to reach towards heaven and to become dialogue.”

Prayer isn’t only petitioning, Francis went on; we also feel the need to praise God. “The first Christians even felt the need to add a doxology to the text of the Lord’s Prayer: ‘For yours is the power and the glory for ever,’ (Didaché, 8: 2).”

But, “prayer of demand” is authentic, the Holy Father continued. “It is an act of faith in God Who is the Father, Who is good, Who is almighty. It is an act of faith in me, I who am small, a sinner, in need. And this is why prayer, to ask something, is very noble.”

The pope said that we should speak to God without fear, calling him Father as a child does, but also willing to question him in difficulty: “But Lord, what have You done to me?”

We can tell Him everything, even the things that in our life remain distorted and incomprehensible. And He has promised us that He would be with us for ever, until the last days we will spend on this earth. Let us pray the Lord’s Prayer, starting in this way, simply: “Father,” “papa.” And He understands us and loves us so much.


Read more:
The business meeting principle you need to make your prayer “work”

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
J-P Mauro
Chicago architect models Vatican City from 67,000 LEGO bricks
The Sinai Peninsula and the Dead Sea Rift
J-P Mauro
Experts now believe Sodom was destroyed by a meteor
Philip Kosloski
Why J.R.R. Tolkien loved to attend daily Mass
Bret Thoman, OFS
Exclusive photos: Meet Padre Pio and the place he lived
Giovanna Binci
He’s autistic, she has Down syndrome, and they’re wonderfully hap...
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady saved Padre Pio from a violent demonic attack
Cerith Gardiner
9 Padre Pio quotes for when you’re feeling scared or uncertain
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.