You will find everything in the Lord’s Prayer

(Bishop and Father of the Church)
An excerpt from Letter 130, To Proba


We read, for example: May you receive glory among all the nations as you have among us, and May your prophets prove themselves faithful. What does this mean but Hallowed be your name?

We read: Lord of power and might, touch our hearts and show us your face, and we shall be saved. What does this mean but Your kingdom come?

We read: Direct my ways by your word, and let no sin rule over me. What does this mean but Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven?

We read: Do not give me poverty or riches. What does this mean but Give us this day our daily bread?

We read: Lord, remember David and all his patient suffering, and Lord, if I have done this, if there is guilt on my hands, if I have repaid evil for evil. . .What does that mean but Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us?

We read: Rescue me, God, from my enemies, deliver me from those who rise up against me. What does this mean but Deliver us from evil?

If you study every word of the petitions of Scripture, you will find, I think, nothing that is not contained and included in the Lord’s Prayer. When we pray, then, we may use different words to say the same things, but we may not say different things.

We should not hesitate to make these prayers for ourselves, for our friends, for strangers, and even for enemies, though the emotions in our heart may vary with the strength or weakness of our relationships with individuals.

You now know, I think, the attitudes you should bring to prayer, as well as the petitions you should make, and this not because of what I have taught you but thanks to the teaching of the one who has been pleased to teach us all.

We must search out the life of happiness, we must ask for it from the Lord our God. Many have discussed at great length the meaning of happiness, but surely we do not need to go to them and their long drawn out discussions. Holy Scripture says concisely and with truth: Happy is the people whose God is the Lord. We are meant to belong to that people, and to be able to see God and live with him forever, and so the object of this command is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience and a sincere faith.

In these three qualities, “a good conscience” stands for “hope.” Faith, hope and love bring safely to God the person who prays, that is, the person who believes, who hopes, who desires, and who ponders what he is asking of the Lord in the Lord’s Prayer.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen