“A short but bold prayer, made up of seven petitions – a number which in the Bible is not accidental, but indicates fullness. I say bold because, had Christ not suggested it, none of us, indeed none of the most renowned theologians, would probably dare to pray to God in this manner”. This is how Pope Francis described the Our Father in the second catechesis dedicated to this theme. Pope Francis explained to the 7,000 faithful present in the Paul VI Hall today that in the Christian prayer par excellence, “Jesus invites His disciples to turn to God with confidence and present Him some requests: first of all, about Him and then about us”. “There are no preambles in the Our Father”, the Pope remarked: “Jesus does not teach formulas to ‘ingratiate’ the Lord; on the contrary, He invites us to pray to Him in a way that breaks down the barriers of subjection and fear. He does not say we should approach God by calling Him ‘the Almighty’, ‘the Most High’ – ‘you who are so distant from us, I am miserable’: no! – but simply ‘Father’. With simplicity, as children who call their father, and this word ‘father’ evokes confidence, filial trust”. “The Lord’s Prayer is rooted in the concrete life of man”, Pope Francis explained: “For example, it makes us ask for bread, our daily bread: this is a simple but essential request, which means that our faith is not ‘decorative’, detached from life, something that emerges when all other needs are met. If anything, prayer begins with life itself”. “Prayer – Jesus teaches us – does not begin in human existence after the stomach is full”, the Pope continued: “Rather, it lurks wherever there is a man, any man, who is hungry, who cries, who struggles, who suffers and wonders ‘why’. We could say that our first prayer was the wail that accompanied our first breath. In that newborn cry, the destiny of our whole life was announced: our continual hunger and thirst, our search for happiness”.