by Fr. Tommy Lane
Our Father who art in heaven.
Did I hear a voice?
As soon as I begin to pray somebody interrupts me, I’ll start again. Our Father who art in heaven.
You’ve interrupted me again.
But you called me. You said ‘Our Father who art in heaven’ So here I am.
Oh my God!
You sound surprised.
I didn’t expect you would answer.
But when you pray to me don’t you expect me to listen?
Yes, but I don’t expect you to talk to me.
Now that I am talking to you what did you want to say?
I wanted to say the prayer that your Son Jesus taught us to say.
Good. Lets start it say that prayer.
What a lovely way to begin praying. I am indeed your Father. Fathers like to be close to their children but sometimes you pray to me as if I am not interested, or you pray to me just in case all those things you heard about me really are true, in case you really will have to meet me when you die. Can you start believing today that I really am your Father, and that I really do love and care about you?
Yes Father, I believe that you love and care about us.
Jesus called me Abba. Do you know what Abba meant in Jesus’ language at that time?
I’ve head that it means ‘Daddy’
Yes, I wish you would look on me as your Daddy.
Yes I know you are a Daddy to all of us.
I’m glad you said ‘us’ because I am the Father of everyone.
That’s why Jesus said to call you ‘Our Father’.
Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed by thy name.
What does hallowed mean?
You don’t know what you say when you’re praying! ‘Hallowed be thy name’ means may God’s name be held holy, may God’s name be respected.
Thank you for the respect for my name. What a pity that people abuse the name of my son Jesus Christ so much. That hurts, after all he did for humanity.
I am sorry Father, Hallowed be thy name, and hallowed be the name of Jesus.
Thy kingdom come.
When you pray that my kingdom may come, what are you praying for?
I’m not exactly sure how to describe it but what I want to say is that I wish the world were a better place.
Indeed. When people love others and forgive, and allow me into their lives, then my kingdom will come.
We badly need your kingdom to come Father. Look at the trouble in the North of Ireland. Look at all the disagreements between people down here in the south too, with nearly one murder every day now.
Yes, my kingdom has partly come, but has not fully come. The Celtic Tiger is not the answer to all problems, only the coming of the kingdom of God. What will bring about my kingdom?
When your will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
Precisely. What is my will?
It would be easier if you told me. It makes me angry when someone is killed tragically or dies painfully and people talk about the will of God.
It makes me angry too. It is not my will that people suffer like this. Why do people talk about me as if I’m a monster? I do not will bad things for you. I will only the best for you. I am your Father and I want only the best for you.
What do we mean then when we pray that your will be done on earth as it is in heaven?
Really it is the same as the previous prayer ‘Thy kingdom come.’ Once again it is praying for love and forgiveness to take over on earth. How much longer must I wait before my will be done in Ireland north and south?
Why isn’t your kingdom coming and your will being done in Ireland?
Because people are only partly obeying my will. People are stubborn and have not converted their minds to my way of thinking. You must bend your mind, convert your mind to my way of thinking, convert your mind to my will. Only then will everyone have peace, happiness and contentment.
How do we bend our minds to your will and convert our minds to your way of thinking?
Convert your mind to my way of thinking by learning more about how I think. I do not think as man thinks. Where do you learn about my way of thinking?
In the Bible, in the Scripture readings we hear at Mass, in preaching, in the teaching of the Church.
Yes, allow my word which you hear in all of these different ways to become part of you so that you will think like me, and not think as the world thinks. Then my will will be done in your life and my kingdom will come in your life. If you do not know the Bible you do not know what my will is, and then my kingdom will not come.
Yes, Father. I will make an effort to get to know your will for us which is revealed to us in the Bible.
Give us this day our daily bread
Judging by the look of you, you seem to get enough bread every day.
Now Father, we are praying as Jesus told us to.
Yes. You are praying that you will have enough to eat and enough of everything else, a roof over your head.
If it means a roof over our head, we certainly need to pray for our daily bread when we consider all the people in our world who live in poverty, and many homeless. Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Yes I certainly want to forgive you your trespasses and sins. The false prophets and prophetesses of these times have forgotten that I am a God of forgiveness. If they read the Bible they would see.
I was interested that you said ‘as you forgive those who trespass against you.’ Have you forgiven so-and-so?
I was afraid you’d bring her up. I am still hoping that she will emigrate to the North Pole.
What’s the point in saying the prayer if you don’t mean it?
Sometimes, Father, I think ‘as we forgive those who trespass against us’ is the most difficult part of the prayer.
Perhaps your problem is that you are waiting for a feeling that you have forgiven. Instead of waiting for a feeling, make a decision to forgive. Forgiveness is a decision. Decide today to forgive her.
(Look at watch) This prayer is going on for longer than I expected.
Yes, usually you don’t pray for long enough.
Okay, Father, I will decide to day to forgive her.
And lead us not into temptation.
Its funny asking me not to lead you into temptation. When did you ever need me or anyone else to take you by the hand and lead you into temptation? If you take extra drinks, you bring the temptation on yourself.
Stop Father, that’s enough.
Pray to avoid the temptations you can avoid, and to resist the temptations you cannot avoid. When the temptation comes to you, the important thing is what you do with the temptation, how you react.
Deliver us from evil.
Yes, there is a lot of evil around. But entrust your life to me and no matter what happens that is against my will, you need not worry. Sometimes you can do a lot yourself to prevent evil having its way. All you need for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. When you look for justice for yourself and others, you are delivering the world from evil yourself.
We’ve had quite a chat today.
We certainly had. Let’s finish together.
(Both together) Amen