Boldest. Prayer. Ever.
How daring are you? Some of the greatest leaders who have ever walked the earth have said again and again, that success in any area of life requires daring and bold action. "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all," says Helen Keller. And there's no more noble of venture than striving to reach the full expression of who you could be. But there isn't a quick or easy way to get there. And there especially isn't a safe way to get there. It's something that requires efforts that are nothing short of daring. So what have you done? What have I done, that is daring, in pursuit of truly becoming the person God made me to be? This weekend's message from Jesus is an invitation to do something profoundly daring. I don't know if you've ever noticed this before, but every time at Mass prior to saying the Our Father, the priest says, "At the Savior's command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say." We're so used to the prayer, that it's almost hard to pray it without being distracted or without letting our minds wander. But may I be so daring as to say, "No Christian is capable of making real progress in the spiritual life without a serious relationship with your Father." So let's explore this ancient prayer together. I'm going to stick to Luke's telling of it in the Gospel for this weekend, and not the whole prayer as we know it.
First Father, hallowed be Thy name. Names are important and carry with them deep meaning. Have you ever noticed that at nearly every major moment of transition in life, we get a new name? When we're born, confirmation, marriage or religious orders, kids, grandkids, and many more. At a time of transition, you get a new name. And it means something. The term Father as Jesus uses it, conveys many things, but one is meant to signify that part of God's purpose is to Father you, to give you the wisdom that leads you down the path of the best way to live. To honor his name is to dare to, to give your life in pursuit of the path He has for you, without exception. Next is Your kingdom come. To ask for God's kingdom to come. I'm saying God, You're in charge of my life. You decide what I do, how I think, the way I love and serve and give and work and play, and everything you decide. It's a prayer of surrender to divine providence, and every man woman, and child who has sincerely prayed for God's kingdom to come, has lived an extraordinary and daring life far beyond their wildest dreams. Next, give us our daily bread. This is a call to live in the present moment. It's not giving me bread every day forever, it's God, just give me what I need for today. Just give me what is needed for me to be at my best for whatever comes my way today. This is daring because it's a surrender of control, and a surrender of the need to experience the illusion of security in exchange for walking moment by moment, trusting that God will provide. All right, next is forgive us our sins. Most people, they never confront their own sin. And not surprisingly, then, most people barely grow over the course of their lives. Confronting your sin, owning it, asking for forgiveness so that you can be freed from its burden is daring, precisely because it's an invitation for you to grow. And most of the time, growth is painful. For we ourselves, forgive everyone in debt to us. Do you doubt that this is a bold a radical or daring idea. Then think of the one person in your life you haven't forgiven. Because it's really hard to forgive them and because they so don't deserve it. And look me in the eye and tell me that forgiveness isn't a daring adventure. And finally, we have DO NOT subject us to the final test. Jesus prayed the fullness of this prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of his passion. He said, "Let this cup pass from me. But only if it's Your will." There's a tone of I'll do whatever you asked me, including whatever final and biggest test you have, but God know this I'd rather not do it. Have you ever dared to pray a prayer that vulnerable in your life? I'm not sure I have. So can I make a suggestion for today? Will you set aside five minutes, just five minutes and pray one Our Father? Seriously take the whole five minutes to pray one Our Father and pray it as if it really was as daring as Jesus suggested it is.