Today’s 1st and Gospel Readings encourage persistence in prayer. The 2nd reading, reminds me of what God has done for me in Jesus. God’s track record in history and in my own life shows that he will answer my persistent prayers in the way that’s best for me. “Great is the mystery of faith”. This mystery, then, requires that the faithful believe in it, that they celebrate it, and that they live from it in a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God. This relationship is prayer (1Thes.5:17-18). The drama of prayer is fully revealed to us in the Word who became flesh and dwells among us. To seek to understand his prayer through what his witnesses proclaim to us in the Gospel is to approach the holy Lord Jesus: first to contemplate him in prayer, then to hear how he teaches us to pray, in order to hear our prayer. Prayer is the pillow of religion. Only the self-sufficient do not pray, and the self- righteous cannot pray. Our persistent prayer to God is to be made in a climate of love and trust, for he is a loving Father who cares for us and will give us the best thing at the right time.
Prayer is “a surge of the heart, a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy” (St. Therese of Lisieux). St John Damascene, described prayer as “the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or requesting of good things from God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2590).Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening. It enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of himself. The degree of our faith is the degree of our prayer. The strength of our hope is the strength of our prayer and the warmth of our charity is the warmth of our prayer.
Understanding the 5 basic disciplines taught by Jesus in the “OUR FATHER” will most certainly help:
1. RELATE – Our Father who art in heaven –Relate to the Father with family intimacy, affection, reverence and love. We are not merely praying the “the deity” or the “Godhead.” We are praying to our Father who loves us, who provides for us and, who sent his only Son to die for us and save us.
2. REJOICE – hallowed by thy name! He is the giver of every good and perfect gift and to Him our praise is due. Praise and thanksgiving make us people of hope and joy. It is for this that we were made. God created us, so that we…might live for his praise and glory (Eph. 1:12).
3. RECEIVE – thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven – At the heart of this petition is an openness to God’s will, to his word of instruction, to his plan for us and for this world. When Jesus lives in us we hunger for God’s word and strive to know his will and have it operative in our life.
4. REQUEST – Give us today our daily bread – Intercessory prayer is at the heart of the Christian life. Allow “bread,” in this case, to be a symbol of all our needs. Our greatest need of course is to be fed by God, and thus bread also points to the faithful reception of the Eucharist.
5. REPENT – and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. – Sin is understood at two levels here:
1:Sin -(lowercase) our personal sins and trespasses, also referred to as our “trespasses.”
2. SIN (upper case) – referring to the whole climate of sin, the structures of sin that reinforce and underlie our own sins. Referred to here as “evil.”
LESSONS: Pray where you are, God is present everywhere and ready to listen. Pray when possible in a quiet spot where you can be alone. Pray to God simply and naturally, as to a friend. Pray remembering the good things God had done for you. Pray for God’s forgiveness for the unworthy things that you may have done. Pray for the things that you need, things that make your life finer and more Christlike. Pray for others, remembering the situations they confront and the help they need. Pray that God’s will may be done in you and in the world. Pray, and then start answering your prayer.