by Catherine Moran –
The life of prayer is a duty of every Christian and is the secret of our happiness. Concerning our prayers in John 16:23, our Lord said, “Amen, Amen I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it to you.” Unfortunately many people feel their prayers are not answered. Many complain, “I pray but my prayers are never answered.” St. James in his epistle (4:3) gives us the answer to this question: “Alas we pray, and we do not obtain, because we pray ill.”
We all need to ask ourselves several questions about our prayer life: “Why do I pray,” and then, “How do I pray?”
First, do you pray with joy knowing that you are honoring God by your prayer?
Second, do you pray knowing to whom you are asking for help and how necessary it is to ask the good God for all that you need?
Third, do you pray knowing how great the spiritual blessings are that you are asking for, and with a heart-felt desire to obtain these blessings?
Fourth, do you pray with perseverance, not allowing yourself to be discouraged if your requests are not immediately answered?
Fifth, do you pray with humility, humbling yourself in the presence of God, acknowledging His greatness and your lowliness?
And sixth, do you pray with confidence, reflecting again on the words of our Lord, “Amen, Amen I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it to you.”
Reflect on these six points and then embrace the example of Jesus, who is the model and example of a life of prayer. Our Lord prayed unceasingly showing us the way to pray. During our earthly life our needs are great and never ending, so, too, our prayer life must be the same. But if you pray out of habit with little or no thought, then the continual preoccupation with worldly affairs will overwhelm you.
Our Blessed Lord has shown you that prayer is the secret of happiness. His life of prayer began at the Incarnation and continued throughout His earthly days, during His Passion and death on the cross and still today in the tabernacle, where He waits for you to come to Him. When you pray well, you will find yourself living in the company of the Most Holy Trinity, just as Jesus did when He walked on earth. It is in this Divine Presence that you can pour out your heart and desires to God the Father, who created you; to God the Son who redeemed you and prays unceasingly for you in all the tabernacles of the world and in heaven; to God the Holy Spirit who pursues you with His holy inspirations and love.
During your prayers you are consoled in your troubles and sorrows; you are helped in your difficulties and you are given a taste of the heavenly joys of paradise. Always remember that the souls of those who do not pray are filled with sadness and negativity, while those who pray every day are filled with joy, serenity and love, which their faces reflect and their presence conveys to everyone they meet in their day. It is one of the primary ways we can witness and evangelize to others. Have you met someone who reflects this peace? Perhaps you received the fruits of their prayer life.
Do you through your prayer life reflect this same peace and joy throughout your day? Resolve today to ask God for this spirit of prayer, to pray well and to ‘pray always.’ (Lk. 18:1)
Katie Moran is the president of the World Apostolate of Fatima, Pittsburgh Byzantine Division. She is an author, speaker and regular contributor to Soul Magazine and to our blog.