Prayer – What’s it all About? Part 1

thFW47OKSCThe author Mike Aquilina, recounts a time when more than a million people crowded into an apparently godless public square in the capital city of communist Poland. It was in June 1979, and the people had gathered to see the recently elected Polish Pope, the now Blessed, and soon to be Saint, John Paul II. He was one of them. A citizen of Poland whom the Holy Spirit inspired to be elected the Pope!

 Someone in the crowd shouted, “We want God,” and soon the chant was taken up by the million voices in that public square: “We want God. We want God. We want God.”

 Imagine the enthusiasm and excitement of that day! Those voices were speaking for more than just the Christians persecuted under communism. They were speaking for Christians everywhere. Saint Augustine said it so well, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

 Since his election in March of 2013, Pope Francis has been challenging all of us, using very simply language, to make the witness of our faith an important dimension of the way we live each day. He is calling us to a deeper awareness of God’s love for us. He is calling us to a deeper appreciation of the implications of our baptismal promises. He is calling us to holiness, to friendship with the Lord Jesus.

 In Rio de Janeiro at the World Youth Day gathering Pope Francis said to the world, “I say to every one of you – ‘Put on Christ’ in your life, and your will find a friend in whom you can always trust; ‘Put on Christ’ and your life will be full of his love; it will be a fruitful life.” It seems to me that he is helping us to respond to the voice in every heart that cries out “We want God.”

Our relationship with God is rooted in prayer. Prayer, put very simply, is conversation with God. And our conversation with God, like all conversations, must involve talking and listening. Talking to God from the depths of our heart – and listening to his response. It is the way we will find the God we want.

 I think that these wintertime days are a good time for us to consider just how much time we spend in prayer and what form our prayer takes.

 There are many ways to pray. No one way will ever meet the inner longing of every heart. Over the next three weeks I’m going to present some insights on prayer and various forms of prayer that you might consider integrating into your prayer life.

 A traditional way to pray is allowing your prayer to be based on what we might call a theme, or what it is that motivates you to pray. There are four very traditional themes.  An easy way to remember them is the word ACTS. Adoration – I want to praise and adore you. Contrition – I’m sorry. Thanksgiving – thank you. Supplication – I need or I want.

 These four categories frequently overlap and lead into one another. Thankfulness for what God has given us leads to praise and adoration of His power in all of creation. Contrition should lead us to supplication and begging for the grace of deeper conversion and union with God. Doesn’t your experience of prayer prove this to be true?

 Next week we’ll look at some methods of prayer that people for generations have found to be helpful for finding God in their lives.

 Question – Think about your prayer life. What is it that motivates you to pray each day? 

February 5th, 2014 |