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How the Our Father can lead us to God’s will for our lives

Woman at prayer

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Philip Kosloski - published on 05/28/24

When we pray the Our Father slowly and deliberately, we can open our hearts to God's will, praying that "Thy will be done."

It can be tempting for us to pray the Lord’s Prayer quickly and without any meaning. We were likely taught this prayer at an early age and recite it every time we go to Mass.

The Our Father is familiar to us and that familiarity can often lead to monotony, where we don’t even notice what we are saying.

Thy will be done

Hidden in plain sight in the Our Father is a prayer that God’s will be done in our lives. It is prayer that has many layers to it, and one of those layers includes an assent to God’s will.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this aspect of the Lord’s Prayer in its section on prayer:

“Although he was a Son, [Jesus] learned obedience through what he suffered.” How much more reason have we sinful creatures to learn obedience – we who in him have become children of adoption. We ask our Father to unite our will to his Son’s, in order to fulfill his will, his plan of salvation for the life of the world. We are radically incapable of this, but united with Jesus and with the power of his Holy Spirit, we can surrender our will to him and decide to choose what his Son has always chosen: to do what is pleasing to the Father.

CCC 2825

St. John Chrysostom is quoted to reiterate this point that Jesus paves the way for us and shows us how to be open to the Father’s will:

Consider how Jesus Christ teaches us to be humble, by making us see that our virtue does not depend on our work alone but on grace from on high. He commands each of the faithful who prays to do so universally, for the whole world. For he did not say “thy will be done in me or in us,” but “on earth,” the whole earth, so that error may be banished from it, truth take root in it, all vice be destroyed on it, virtue flourish on it, and earth no longer differ from heaven.

The key is to listen to God and to hear his voice so that our prayer during the Our Father is authentic:

By prayer we can discern “what is the will of God” and obtain the endurance to do it. Jesus teaches us that one enters the kingdom of heaven not by speaking words, but by doing “the will of my Father in heaven.”

CCC 2826

The next time you pray the Our Father, try to do so slowly and pray with your whole heart that “Thy will be done!”

CCC PrayerJesus ChristPrayer
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