By Roberta C. Bondi
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Extra info for A Place to Pray: Reflections on the Lord's Prayer
I remember in excruciating detail the day twenty-three years ago when I first became aware that I had a problem here. I was in the process of remodeling an old house in the city where I used to teach when I became pregnant with my son Benjamin. Me being the vomiting sort of expectant mother, if you recall, the first few months of my pregnancy were horrible. The house needed to be finished by a particular date so that we could move into it, but for various reasons, I was the only one prepared to work on it.
My need to find the causes of my difficulties here, as is true for everybody, was to understand the past not for its own sake, but in order to grow in love of God, neighbor, and self in the present and in the future. Abba Poemen used to say, "It is not understanding what has happened that prevents us from going on to something better,"2 and I believe it, deeply. Bringing "what has happened" into my conscious mind gave me a way to evaluate and start revising what I believed, and equally important, to begin to practice other ways of being.
Because questions having to do with our own prayer are our real interests right now, I suggest we begin with the word "give," the primary word in "give us this day our daily bread" that you tell me causes you problems. As you say in your last letter, it is hard for you to ask anybody, and not just God, for anything. You don't mean asking someone else to wish you luck or pray for you, either. " In your letter you also mention that you are beginning to suspect that this reluctance to ask other human beings for help may be connected with your difficulties in asking God for things in prayer, including even "your daily bread," if you let yourself think about it.