When we love someone, is it not natural to want to be with them? If I love someone without ever showing my love, without ever reaching out to them, then we could say that I do not really love that person.
It is the same with God. Meeting him, talking to him, listening to him: these are the things that make the relationship a living one, and in time, more and more real, deep and rewarding.
To desire to meet God is in essence to desire to live fully, to desire to be happy. And that is something that everyone wants!
We meet God in prayer. Whatever forms the prayer may take (blessing, adoration, petition, intercession, praise, meditation, contemplation), praying transforms us at a deep level. Prayer strengthens us, even when we are weak. Prayer helps our fears fall away and gives us renewed energy and courage.
Prayer purifies our hearts, our thoughts, our intentions and helps us to resist the endless small and big temptations that we inevitably come across. Prayer is an essential weapon to defend us from the Evil One, he who is constantly seeking to draw us away from God.
Finally, prayer is the most effective weapon to help us stay focused on what really matters.
As Christians, we need to strive each day, to listen to and imitate Jesus Christ. This means that we need to pray every day – and not only when we feel like it! Jesus himself, who was God in the form of a person, prayed every day… How could we possibly live without prayer when the Son of God could not do without it!
Jesus said it, prayer helps us to stay alert, to fight to keep our heart pure, and to obtain the strength to forgive our enemies. As we continue to pray, our trust in God increases, and it becomes more and more easier to place the love of God above all else.
Your Will be Done…
As we said, praying is not only talking to God… it is also, and perhaps more, about listening. God has something to say to each one of us personally. We can hear it in the silence, but we can also feel, through a felt knowing, his presence. We do not necessarily seek this sensation, but if it is God’s will, he will give us this gift. No special technique is required; only the effort to find some time or times for prayer each day.
We go to God in all circumstances. This is good for our humility. We pray for ourselves, but also for others, those we love, those we might not love as much. This helps us to become conscious of the fact that we are not alone, that we are part of a universal family. This sharpens our sense of mercy!
Here too, what is important, what really matters, is not our will but God’s will for us, for others, and for the whole world. To seek the will of God in prayer often upsets our certainties, the things we believe about God or ourselves, as well as our plans or projects. That is a good thing!
Prayer is not an escape from reality or from our problems, or to disconnect from the world that surrounds us. On the contrary, prayer opens our eyes on reality as a whole; the supernatural and the material. We are not only beings of the flesh! We have a soul, a body, and are deeply religious beings. Through prayer, God gives us the strength to hang in there when faced with real and spiritual battles.
The life of each Christian that we meet will always be a story of prayer. The story of a man, a woman, a child of God, trying, day in and day out, to be united, in the most intimate way, with their God.
God thirsts for our love. He wishes to have a close personal relationship with each one of us. When we love God and we take it seriously, prayer becomes a habit.
To pray is to freely give of our time to God to talk to him. It is to turn our hearts toward God in trust, to come closer to him and seek his will by listening to him.
Prayer is a gift that we receive… when we pray! It is as vital a necessity as eating, breathing, loving. Prayer allows us to see the complete reality and to keep on going, thanks to God.
When do I Pray ?
The Holy Spirit is always with us to help us pray. We can pray anywhere: in church, at school, at work, at home, in the metro, etc. One thought is enough.
Our whole life can become a prayer: offering our day upon rising, blessing the people we meet, making choices as Jesus would, saying grace before meals, going over our day when we go to sleep and asking for forgiveness for not having been as loving as we could have been, etc.
With God, we are no longer afraid: we are never alone to love, to face difficulties and take up challenges, to sow peace and joy around us.
What do I say to God ?
When we are before the love, fidelity, forgiveness, patience and greatness of God, our soul may feel the need to:
Bless God by asking him to reveal his presence, his goodness and his mercy in our lives and in the lives of others.
Adore God, who is all powerful and holy, by humbly recognizing that we are his creatures and thanking Jesus for having come to save us.
Ask things of God. At times, a prayer is not answered because God wants to give us something else that is better for us to help us get to heaven. Let us trust him.
Thank God because all that we are and all that we have comes from him. The greatest prayer of thanksgiving is the Mass.
Worship God with the angels and the saints in heaven because he exists and he is good.
How to pray
We can use vocal prayers such as the Our Father and the Rosary which helps us to meditate on the joyful, luminous, sorrowful, and glorious mysteries of the life of Jesus and his mother, Mary.
There is also meditation on a passage of the Word of God to listen to what he wants to say to us personally.
There is also contemplation: to place oneself in the presence of God to listen with love, in the silence.
Did Jesus teach us how to pray?
Jesus prayed without ceasing and taught us one prayer: The Our Father.
Our Father… Jesus is our brother who leads us to the heart of the Father. We all have the joy of being children of the same Father, called to live as brothers and sisters.
Who are in heaven… Heaven is not a place, but the way of being of God. That is where God is.
Hallowed be thy name… That is what happens when we love God and live according to his commandments.
Your Kingdom come… Christ will return at the end of time. As we wait, "to want all that God wants, to want it always and in every circumstance, is the Kingdom of God that is within us" (Fénélon).
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven… We pray that his plan will come to fruition on earth and in our hearts.
Give us this day our daily bread… We expect all to come from God’s goodness: material and spiritual things, conscious of our personal responsibility towards those who lack the basic necessities.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us… God’s mercy cannot enter our hearts if we do not forgive others.
Lead us not into temptation… When facing evil, let us trust in God’s help. But deliver us from evil. Amen… That means from Satan who leads us to do evil. Pray that we may be protected from the greatest evil there is: to be separated from God for all eternity, because we were created for him and our joy is found in him.
(Inspired by Youcat)