Prayer is so intertwined with life that we can safely say that we pray to live and live to pray. To make life coincide with prayer, the follower of Christ needs formal moments of prayer every day.
PUBLISHED ONJan 2021
“Then he (Jesus) told them a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart.” (Luke 18:1).
Ermes Ronchi, a religious priest and a lover of life has said that “Praying is like breathing. As we breathe in order to live, so we pray in order to live.” I would add that when a person has grown in Christian life, that person can say: “I live in order to pray.”
In fact, prayer is like loving. If I love a person I cannot say that I love that person now and then. If my love is true, I love that person always as I go through life doing different things, even when I am far away. So it is with prayer. If I live and do everything in communion with God and I love people and reconnect to God everything that surrounds me like the mountains, the trees, and the animals of the sea, earth, and skies, then my whole life becomes prayer and the universe prays through me.
However, to make all this real in my missionary pilgrimage, I need to have prolonged moments of ‘formal’ prayer in daily life. Every follower of Christ, to live a creative life that coincides with prayer, needs those moments every day.
Prayer Is A Dialogue
What is then formal prayer? It is a dialogue between God and us, His children. In this dialogue, God talks to us through His Word which is alive, effective, and challenging and we listen. We talk to God and God listens to each person as if that person were the only person to listen to. God gives Himself to us and we give ourselves to Him.
For a person to practice this dialogue effectively, he or she must have a beautiful image of God and a positive image of self:
• A beautiful image of God: The God of our faith, the God of Jesus Christ, is the God who loves all and embraces all with a kind of love which is eternal, freely given, and crazy. It is eternal because it is from ever and forever. It is freely given because God is generous. He knows that His love has an infinite value, and there is no price we could pay for it. It is crazy in the sense that it is beyond any human evaluation and expectation.
• A positive image of self: Everyone is precious in God’s eyes. We are precious and God wants us to love ourselves in a positive way accepting ourselves with all that we are and with all that we have. Our call from God is to give ourselves to Him with a simple prayer reminding us that we cannot grow with our own strength. It is God who transforms us with our cooperation. This is the prayer: ‘Lord, take us the way we are and make us the way you want us to be’.
How many persons have been transformed by God?
• Let us think of Mary, the young woman who considered herself ‘the Lord’s servant’. After having accepted the message of God through the angel, she was transformed by God, thanks to a great miracle of love, and she became the Mother of the Savior and our Mother, too.
• Let us think of Peter who was a fisherman, an uneducated person. Through his staying with Jesus and then through the coming of the Holy Spirit, he became a great Apostle, the first Head of the Church, a Martyr.
• Let us think about the young men and women who these days are still called by God to be committed to the service of their brothers and sisters who are in need. They say a generous yes and allow God to transform them.
Through the intercession of Mary, we pray that personal and communitarian prayer, prayer in solitude and even in the midst of the noise of the world, may be appreciated by all the followers of Christ, and may become a habitual practice in their journey of life. In this way, they will experience the joy, the value, the beauty, the transforming power, and the necessity of prayer.