This week we begin a new series of catecheses devoted to the Lord’s Prayer. The “Our Father” is rooted in Jesus’ own life of prayer. From the first day of his public ministry to the night before he died, Jesus always took time to withdraw from the pressing demands of his mission and to pray in silence. He took part in the public liturgical prayer of his people, yet he also prayed alone and with such mysterious intensity that his disciples, inspired by his example, begged him: “Lord, teach us to pray” (Lk 11:1). Jesus responded to their request by giving them, and us, the words of the “Our Father”. In teaching us this prayer, he draws us into his own intimate relationship with the Father. Although prayer rises up naturally in human hearts, we can all learn how to pray more fruitfully. As the parable of the Pharisee and the publican shows us, the prayer most pleasing to God arises from a humble and loving heart. In these coming weeks, as we reflect on the prayer of Jesus, may each of us, personally, echo the plea of the disciples and ask, with great trust: “Lord, teach me to pray”!
I welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America. My greeting also goes to the many groups of students and teachers present. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace. God bless you!