Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Prayer, prayer is important, and prayer is an integral part of our faith. We cannot say that we are faithful to God if we do not pray, and if we do not have a good and healthy prayer life. A good prayer life means maintaining constant and genuine devotion to the Lord. But sadly, brothers and sisters in Christ, many of us still do not know or are not aware of what constitutes a good prayer.
In fact, we all know the prayer that Jesus taught to His disciples today, the Pater Noster, or ‘Our Father’, the prayer which Jesus Himself taught to the people, as the example and the pinnacle of what a prayer should really be. It is a perfect prayer, because it encompasses every single dimension of prayer, of what prayer should be.
First of all, prayer is not a litany of request, demands, or wishes which we convey to the Lord, asking or even demanding God to fulfill them. In fact, we are often angry or disappointed if our wishes are not fulfilled. We thought that God did not want to fulfill our wishes or failed to do so. If we think in that way, then we have failed in our understanding of what prayer truly is.
Prayer is first and foremost, the media of communication between us and the Lord our God who loves and cares for us, who is our Father, and who watches over us every single day of our life. And just like all parents do, God wants to talk to us, as often as possible, and He also wants us to talk to Him as well. Yet, what actually happened is that we speak all the time, and did not allow God to speak to us.
We are often not aware that prayer involves a two-way communication between us and God, and it is in fact not the correct way for us to launch a litany of demands in our prayers. Instead, we should talk sincerely to God from our hearts, and before we can do that, we have to first put forth a listening ear to God’s word, for He speaks in our heart.
Very often, the noise of this world, the distractions that exist around us, and the noise of our own incorrect way of praying prevent us from listening to God’s words. We therefore have to find a way so that we can quieten down all those noises and distractions, and find a quiet time where we can spend it with God in full quality. That is why when we pray, it is better to do it in private, and in the time when we do not think about all our worries and concerns of the world.
And by noting the example of the Lord’s Prayer, the prayer taught to us by Jesus, we can learn how to make best use of prayers and how to be truly a prayerful servant of God. First we should praise and glorify God and His Name, just as the angels and saints in heaven do every moment and every day, praising God without end.
Then, prayer must also be a thanksgiving for the goodness and graces that God had shown us. We have to thank Him first of all for the gift of life, which God extended to us, allowing us to continue in our devotion, and to continue to do many good and marvellous things in our respective lives.
And lastly, in prayer, we have to be humble at all times, for we are all sinners and we all should ask in a great supplication for the forgiveness of our sins. But just as we do that, we must also remember that we also owe our brethren, whenever we commit things that cause them hurt or pain, just as they do the same things to us, and that is why, when we pray, we have to also forgive one another, getting rid of hatred and bitterness in our hearts, so that ultimately our hearts will be completely open for the Lord to come in and dwell within us.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, now that we all know how to pray well and how to utilise prayer for the benefit of our faith, let us all then put it into practice from now on, that we may truly be a prayerful people, and our lives be filled with genuine and devoted prayers, as well as actions, which we do for the good of all, and out of love for God our loving Father. Amen!