By Laura Kelly Fanucci, Catholic News Service     11/19/2020

Lord, we’re tired.  Overwhelmed. Anxious. Uncertain. 

This year has brought massive changes to our families. Work, school, Church — all of it looks different now. Our kids are struggling to understand, accept and adapt. We’re struggling, too. 

How can we help our families when we need support for ourselves? How can we teach our kids to pray when we’re wrestling with faith right now, too? Where do we start when everything feels like it’s unraveling around us? 

Here is one answer you gave us: 

“He was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test’” (Lk 11:1-4). 

Each line of Scripture can speak to us today, Lord. Open our hearts to hear your word. 

“He was praying in a certain place.” 

Remind us that our circumstances and contexts don’t have to be barriers to prayer. Keep drawing us to you in our own particular places, just as you would leave behind the chaos and crisis of the crowds to pray alone. 

“Lord, teach us to pray.” 

Humble our hearts to ask you to teach us. When we don’t know what to do or where to go, nudge us to ask for help. Let us be open to receive and willing to learn. Comfort us to remember we aren’t alone, that we all need your grace and guidance to keep going. 

“When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.” 

Help us to start simply. To begin each day and each prayer by calling out to you. To praise your name and put you first. To remember that we are your beloved children. To hope in your goodness, trust in your promise and surrender to your ways. 

“Give us each day our daily bread.” 

Let us see all the goodness of life — even time and food — as gifts from you. Let us ask for enough for today, and trust that tomorrow will take care of itself. Let us be open to receive you: in sacraments, in Scripture and in sustenance for our bodies and minds. Let us pray not just for ourselves and our families, but for all who are in need. 

“Forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us.” 

Guide us to confession and forgiveness. Be merciful with our fumbling, failures and fears. Help us to forgive ourselves, our families and all those we struggle to love. Guide our feet to the path of your healing, and teach us to work and serve each day in the light of your love. 

“Do not subject us to the final test.” 

Have mercy on us. Protect us. Stay with us through the end. 

Bring us back each day to these holy words. Help us teach them to our children, to pray them when we are at home and when we are away. 

Most of all, Lord, be present to us wherever we are — as parents, guardians, grandparents, godparents and all who love, teach or raise young people in today’s tumultuous world. May we trust that we and the children we love are always in your care, that your peace is always only a prayer away.