Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Prayer

If we ignore prayer, or if prayer is a burden, the only possible reason is that we have misunderstood prayer.

Some feel prayer is a useless activity that only the ignorant and the weak resort to. Some feel prayer is an unfair demand religion forces upon them that robs their time and freedom, while some surrender concluding prayer is an unfortunate, boring exercise, having to please an egoistic God in order to receive their daily needs. For some others prayer has become a meaningless habit or just a feel good thing.

Our appreciation for prayer will grow only when our understanding of God grows. When we seek to know God more personally and intimately, our prayer too grows into a wonderful love relationship with God.

Prayer is the means by which we develop this deep relationship and communion with God. When we come to know God's true nature, and who we are in God, prayer becomes the most cherished, joyful and fulfilling experience that we never want to part from.

Prayer is nurturing a relationship with God. It is the secret path of becoming Christ like. It is the path to unite ourselves with God, It is the secret means to become one flesh with God. Prayer unites us with God just as the vine and the branches are united. Prayer is inheriting the character of God. Prayer is sharing in God's divine life. Prayer is enkindling the Holy Spirit in us. It is in prayer that we are filled with the gifts, fruits and charisms of the Holy Spirit

Prayer is the time our soul interacts with God. It is the time our soul receives directions and understands its purpose. It is in prayer that we garner inner strength. It is a time of rejuvenation. The one who prays learns to depend on God and not on his own strengths.

We are like the moon. The moon shines at night spreading its light. Moon cannot shine on its own. In order to shine at night, the Moon needs to expose itself to the Sun. Similarly, we need to fill our love tanks by exposing it to the never drying source of pure love. We need to receive light from God, the ultimate light in order to give light to those in darkness.

When we pray, especially with the scriptures, we get accustomed to the mind of God and His character. To know the mind of God is Wisdom. Wisdom is knowing what 'God would do'. Wisdom is the recipe for success. Wisdom is the recipe for peace and everlasting joy. We must pray always. Prayer is a lifestyle. The gift of prayer is obtained through prayer itself. Prayer is growing in friendship with God. Prayer makes us bold and confident. Prayer is surrendering ourselves for a greater empowerment. Prayer is acknowledging before God who/what we really are.

Prayer is not a time to enlist our good works or recount our achievements. Prayer is saying to God 'I care for you and I know you care for me'. Prayer is praising God for who He really is. Prayer is worshiping Him for He alone is worthy of it. Prayer is giving thanks for the countless blessings we have received though unworthy of it. Prayer is interceding for the joy of others. Prayer is simply cherishing God's loving, caring, healing, cajoling presence and revelling in it.

The life of a praying person is an 'on the job training'. God trains us to know 'what is not God like' in us. The challenges in life are cues that God gives to reorder and align our lives to His perfect will. The height of human joy [fullness of life] consists in aligning our lives to the perfect will of God. A praying person gladly reorders his life. He knows his own weaknesses. He understands why people around him are imperfect just as he is imperfect. He is patient with others. He knows why they do what they do. He knows what can make them do better. He desires mercy and compassion for them. He desires them to be like him or even better than himself. He is like a shining light setup on the top of the hill. He is the one everyone wants to be around.

There are different kind of prayers: the official prayers of the Church, liturgical prayers, devotional prayers, the rosary, intercessory prayers etc. All these are important. One does not replace the other. Each has its own degree of merits. And none of these diminish the importance of the one-on-one, intimate, personal time of prayer. Personal prayer can grow to greater levels of intimacy and union with God.

Desire to pray is already a prayer. Let us tread higher! Choose your time, choose your place. Present yourself before God without agendas. Just let go. Joyfully interact with God in your own way. There is no framework for prayer. Prayer is simply abandoning yourself in His hands of God, trusting Him completely with everything in your life.

God's glory is man fully alive. St. Irenaeus.