Prayer is a beautiful conversation between us and God. St. Therese of Lisieux, in her autobiography, ‘The Diary of a Soul’ says that when she prayed it was just like chatting to her best friend. She constantly felt the presence of God in her daily life, and she spoke to Him throughout the day. That is the joy of prayer, spending time with our best friend. The Youth Catechism (469) says that when a person prays, he enters into a living relationship with God. So when we pray, our lives are united in a very close and intimate way with God. Prayer increases our faith, it increases our spiritual power, and it feeds our souls. God loves to hear from us. He wants to hear about our hopes and dreams as well as our problems. He wants us to talk freely to him in our own words so that the prayer comes from our hearts.
There is, of course, a place for formal prayers like the Our Father and the Hail Mary, which help us pray. Reciting prayers like the Rosary or the Divine Mercy chaplet is a good way of talking to God, but we should also spend some time trying to listen to Him and allowing Him to communicate with us. He is our loving Father and a father has lots to say to his child.
Abraham is a good model of prayer. “Abraham listened to God. He was willing to set out for wherever God commanded and to do what God willed. By his listening and his readiness to make a new start, he is a model of our prayer.” (YouCat 471) Abraham is praised for listening to God, and being willing to do whatever God asked of him. Throughout his life Abraham maintained a daily connection with God. What about you and me? Do we only pray on Sunday or when we have time? Abraham had many difficulties but even in the midst of them, he put his trust and faith in God. That is why God raised him up as the father of our faith. He is probably the greatest intercessor of all time, as shown in Genesis 18 when he pleaded with God to save Sodom from destruction.
Moses is another model of prayer. He led Israel out of captivity and was another great intercessor for God’s people. “From Moses we learn that praying means speaking with God. At the burning bush God entered into a real conversation with Moses and gave him an assignment. Moses raised objections and asked questions. Finally God revealed to him His Holy Name. Just as Moses then came to trust God and enlisted wholeheartedly in His service, so we too should pray and thus go to God’s school.” (YouCat 472) Before leading the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses went up a mountain to pray. This is how he maintained his relationship with God and it prepared him and strengthened him for his mission.
THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
The Blessed Virgin Mary’s prayer life shows us how we can give our lives completely to God. “To learn from Mary how to pray means to join in her prayer, ‘Let it be to me according to your word. (Luke 1:38)’ Prayer is ultimately self-giving in response to God’s love. If we say Yes as Mary did, God has the opportunity to lead His life in our life.” (YouCat 479) Mary offered herself and her situation completely to God’s will, so that God’s plan of salvation could be fulfilled through her. Like Mary, we should be humble and let God’s will be done in our lives. When we do this then the glory of God will be revealed to us.
Jesus also shows us how to pray. “Jesus’ life was one single prayer. At decisive moments (his temptation in the desert, his selection of apostles, his death on the Cross) his prayer was especially intense. Often he withdrew into solitude to pray, especially at night. Being one with the Father in the Holy Spirit – that was the guiding principle of his earthly life.” (YouCat 475) Jesus knew that prayer was important and His prayer was very powerful. Some people wonder why Jesus needed to pray since He is God; but when he walked on this earth, Jesus was fully human. He was just like you and me living among the people of his day, experiencing the same emotions, temptations and interactions as we do. Jesus regularly went off by himself to spend time in prayer. He needed this to give Him the strength to carry out His mission, to heal the sick and raise the dead. If Jesus, true God and true man, needed to have a prayer life, then we, as followers of Christ also need to set aside time to be alone with our heavenly Father.
Prayer is constantly speaking and listening to God and being willing to say yes to whatever He is planning in our lives. God did great things through Abraham, Moses and the Blessed Virgin Mary and He wants to do similar great things through us. God is waiting to speak with us so let us try to make time each day to talk with him. If we persevere in prayer then we can be strong in the mighty power of our ever living God.
Written by Joyson Joboy