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If you want to learn how to pray, ask Jesus to teach you


Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 10/05/22

Ask persistently, without getting tired, and then He will slowly teach you the Our Father.

Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

Every now and then someone asks me how to pray, what the starting point is. Well, today Luke’s Gospel helps us answer that question. If you want to start praying, start by saying these words to the Lord: “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”

If you want to learn how to pray, ask Jesus to teach you. Ask persistently, without getting tired, and then He will slowly teach you the Our Father. It’s not about learning a prayer to recite, but a prayer to experience.

In fact, praying means experiencing that prayer is meaningful only if you learn to address it to a father, that is, to someone who relates to you not with neutrality and distance, but with love. You pray not when you set out to convince God of your plans, but when you make room first and foremost for his, for those plans that mysteriously fill the reality of your life and which many times frighten you because you do not understand them fully, or because they lead you down paths you never imagined.

You pray when you ask for what you need for your daily life and not what you need in the abstract, in a general sense and that doesn’t really touch your life. You pray when you feel that you need to be forgiven, and precisely because of that you feel the need to learn to forgive your brother or your sister who lives next to you. You pray when you ask for help in dealing with evil, and not when you think you always have to do everything yourself.

When Jesus teaches us the Our Father, he teaches us an entire school of prayer.


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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