How can my everyday routine be a school of prayer?

Everything that happens, every encounter can become the occasion for a prayer. For the more deeply we live in union with God, the deeper we understand the world around us. Someone who already seeks union with Jesus in the morning can be a blessing to the people he meets, even his opponents and enemies. Over the course of the day he casts all his cares on the Lord. He has more peace within himself and radiates it. He makes his judgments and decisions by asking himself how Jesus would act at that moment. He overcomes fear by staying close to God. In desperate situations he is not without support. He carries the peace of heaven within him and thereby brings it into the world. He is full of gratitude and joy for the beautiful things, but also endures the difficult things that he encounters. This attentiveness to God is possible even at work.

What is prayer?

Prayer is turning the heart toward God. When a person prays, he enters into a living relationship with God. Prayer is the great gate leading into faith. Someone who prays no longer lives on his own, for himself, and by his own strength. He knows there is a God to whom he can talk. People who pray entrust themselves more and more to God. Even now they seek union with the one whom they will encounter one day face to face. Therefore, the effort to pray daily is part of Christian life. Of course, one cannot learn to pray in the same way one learns a technique. As strange as it sounds, prayer is a gift one obtains through prayer.

We pray because we are full of an infinite longing and God has created us men for himself: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you” (St. Augustine). But we pray also because we need to; Mother Teresa says, “Because I cannot rely on myself, I rely on him, twenty-four hours a day.” Often we forget God, run away from him and hide. Whether we avoid thinking about God or deny that he is always there for us. He seeks us before we seek him; he yearns for us, he calls us. You speak with your conscience and suddenly notice that you are speaking with God. You feel lonely, have no one to talk with, and then sense that God is always available to talk. You are in danger and experience that a cry for help is answered by God. Praying is as human as breathing, eating, and loving. Praying purifies. Praying makes it possible to resist temptations. Praying strengthens us in our weakness. Praying removes fear, increases energy, and gives a second wind. Praying makes one happy.

“”Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.” (St John Damascene, Defide orth) But when we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or “out of the depths” of a humble and contrite heart (Ps 130:1)? He who humbles himself will be exalted (cf Lk 18:9-14); humility is the foundation of prayer, Only when we humbly acknowledge that “we do not know how to pray as we ought,” (Rom 8:26) are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. “Man is a beggar before God” (St Augustine, Sermo).” (CCC 2559)

“”If you knew the gift of God!” (Jn 4:10) The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him (cf. St. Augustine, De diversis quaestionibus octoginta tribus.” (CCC 2560)

Meditation on last Sunday’s liturgy

How do you expect the Lord to treat you when you ask for his help? Do you approach with fear and doubt, or with faith and confidence? Jesus never turned anyone aside who approached him with sincerity and trust. And whatever Jesus did, he did well. He demonstrated both the beauty and goodness of God in his actions. When Jesus approaches a man who is both deaf and a slutterer, Jesus shows his considerateness for this man’s predicament. Jesus takes him aside privately, no doubt to remove him from embarassement with a noisy crowd of gawkers. Jesus then puts his fingers into the deaf man’s ears and he touches the man’s tongue with his own spittle to physically identify with this man’s infirmity and to awaken faith in him. With a word of command the poor man’s ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.

What is the significance of Jesus putting his fingers into the man’s ears? Greogy the Great, a church father from the 6th century, comments on this miracle: The Spirit is called the finger of God. When the Lord puts his fingers into the ears of the deaf mute, he was opening the soul of man to faith through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The people’s response to this miracle testifies to Jesus’ great care for others: He has done all things well. No problem or burden was too much for Jesus’ careful consideration. The Lord treats each of us with kindness and compassion and he calls us to treat one another in like manner. The Holy Spirit who dwells within us enables us to love as Jesus loves. Do you show kindness and compassion to your neighbours and do you treat them with considerateness as Jesus did?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and inflame my heart with love and compassion. Make me attentive to the needs of others that I may show them kindness and care. Make me an instrument of your mercy and peace that I may help others find healing and wholeness in you.