Our Father: The Perfect Prayer

Hundreds, maybe thousands of beautiful and insightful books, homilies, papal addresses, and gospel reflections have been written about the Our Father prayer! The treasures of this prayer are inexhaustible. It is truly the Perfect Prayer. It contains the keys to becoming a Saint! Each line offers a truth so deep, we cannot ever fully mine it. Let me take a few moments today to ponder and pray with just the first two words. By delving into just these two words, may I approach the remainder of the prayer often, sacredly, and slowly, letting the words sink into my heart.

Our Father: An Expression of Intimacy

“Our Father.” These 2 words – barely a phrase, yet packed with meaning. It can be easy to brush by these two words as if they were just merely the start of the prayer, but I would be missing so much if I do.

The Aramaic word for Father is Abba. Many have translated this as “Daddy,” and rightly so, because it expresses the deep tenderness between a child and father.

A Father is one who protects, provides, instructs, guides. A Daddy is one who also holds, comforts, heals, embraces, and delights.

When I say these 2 words, let me pause in what they mean. I am talking to the One who loves me the most, the One who would not refuse me anything, the One who just wants to strengthen and heal me.

Our Father: An Expression of Obedience

The words Abba, Father do even more than express this intimacy. They also express obedience, not a slavish obedience, but rather a filial one. A child who loves his Father wants to please Him and make Him proud. A child who loves his Father trusts that all that the Father wills is for his best even when he cannot understand it. The beautiful name of Abba invites me to fully submit my will to His.

I can see this in 2 other places in Scripture where the word Abba is used. Let me take a closer look.

Mark 14:36 – In the Garden of Gethsemane amidst Christ’s greatest agony, he prays “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.” Jesus calls his Father lovingly and with confidence, and then he fully submits His will to His Father’s.

Romans 8:15 – Here St. Paul is exhorting the early Christians to live according to the Spirit and to bear their sufferings by understanding their identity: “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry “‘Abba, Father!’” St. Paul reminds me that this is not a servile fear but rather a birthright, one that ought to give me courage and strength.

Let me remember to pray to Our Father, this most perfect prayer, and to continue to meditate upon its words, asking the Holy Spirit to let its words take deep root in my heart.

Let us pray…

Abba, Father, I trust in You.

Thy Will be done.

I give you my will.

Give me Yours in return.

[Readings: Sir 48:1-14; Mt 6:7-15]

Celina Manville

I have been in education for 20+ years, mostly working in Catholic schools serving children with special needs. Ed and I have been married over 26 years and have 3 (now) adult children - Eddie, Tony, & Kateri. Since my mom was from Brazil, and I speak fluent Portuguese, I can understand Spanish fairly well. Currently, we live in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and are parishioners at St. Luke, the Evangelist Catholic Church in Raleigh. I am most grateful to my parents for grounding me in the faith, to the Franciscan University of Steubenville for its amazing formation and education, and to Christ and His Blessed Mother for being at my side.

1 Comment

  1. Jerry DEMELO Jr on June 17, 2022 at 7:14 am

    Beautifully done