When I worked with a traveling retreat team, we used to present a skit that began with one of our team members walking onto the stage, kneeling down, making the sign of the cross, and beginning to pray the Lord’s prayer. The only thing is she wouldn’t get very far, as after saying the words Our Father, who art in Heaven, a voice offstage would reply “Yes?” (This was particularly effective if we could use a microphone and a boomy sound system…) The rest of the skit would be a dialogue between the person praying and God about what all the parts of the Our Father actually mean. The most telling line of the whole skit came early on, after she had again said Our Father who art in Heaven and God had answered Here I am… what’s on your mind? She would reply:
I didn’t mean anything by it. I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day. I always say the Lord’s Prayer. It makes me feel good, kind of like getting a duty done.
The Our Father is one of those prayers – usually one of the first prayers any of us ever learned to pray. It’s one many people Catholic, Christian, and otherwise can recite from memory – and we are often just like the girl in the skit: praying it without giving it a second thought. But there’s much more here. Of all the wrote prayers you might use to begin your conversation with God, the most important is the Our Father. It isn’t important just because it comes from Scripture (most of the Hail Mary is also from the Gospels), nor because it explains something that we believe (the Sign of the Cross does this as well), it is important because it is the answer Jesus gave when His apostles asked Him how they should pray (Matthew 9:6-13, Luke 11:2-4). [Read more…]