“The Lord’s prayer is the most perfect of prayers … In it we ask, not only for the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired,” thus said St Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica (also CCC 2763). And St Augustine said, “Run through all the words of the holy prayers, and I do not think that you will find anything in them that is not contained and included in the Lord’s Prayer” (also CCC 2762).
If we seek to renew or re-invigorate our prayer then returning to the Lord’s prayer is the most important thing for us to do because it is the perfect prayer given to us by the perfect Pray-er. We learn to pray by going to our Lord’s school of prayer.
In our Lord’s school of prayer He wrote just one textbook with just fifty-five words in it.
He did not give us psychological techniques but the actual words of a prayer; a prayer, though, not to be just repeated mechanically.
When someone begins to play an instrument they begin by learning to read music. First they play the music mechanically. One note comes after the other. But as time goes on the music begins to flow. It is no longer a mechanical procedure, it now becomes something of beauty.
We must pray this prayer not just with our words. We must pray this prayer not just with our words and our minds. We must pray this prayer with our words, our minds and our hearts.
One of the key things to understand here is that we will only truly understand the words with our minds when we also will them with our hearts. When we desire and want what God’s wants, what God wills, then we will understand His word in this His prayer.
One of the best places to reflect more deeply about the Lord’s Prayer is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Access for free online or use the copy you have at home. There is a wealth of reflection on this perfect prayer by the perfect pray-er.
See CCC 2777 - 2865