What is Prayer?
Prayer is the lifting up of our minds and hearts to God for a variety of reasons.
Some of those reasons include, thanks-
giving, asking for forgiveness, petitioning for graces/blessings,
and overall guidance to holiness. There are primarily two kinds of
prayer, 1) mental (meditative) and 2) vocal prayer.
In meditative prayer, we take time to contemplate on God's commandments, love, mercy,
followers (saints & angels), etc. Mental prayer is important as it shapes our thoughts on righteous things which will help lead us to holier lives. In vocal prayer,
we speak aloud the prayerful meditative thoughts in communion
with God's will to abide with us and in us.
Vocal prayer is the extention of the mental prayer with every intention to advance God's blessings and is as necessary as mental prayer.
How Should we Pray?
First of all, we must recognize to whom we are speaking to when we pray. This is no ordinary 'conversation' with a friend that
one might fool around with but rather the Living God.
Therefore, we are to begin prayer with the utmost attention striving as best we
can to not allow our imagination lead our thoughts while we pray.
We must also realize that if or when we sin, we are at war with Him.
Therefore, we must pray to Him humbly, recognizing our own helplessness and dependence on Him. We must also realize that the purpose of
prayer is not to merely obtain earthly things
but to earnestly petition God for graces for the sake of holiness. Let us also consider
the necessity to trust in Him when we pray.
With all perseverence, we piously petition God for a holy life in order to be fully satisfied.
How Did Jesus teach us to Pray?
When the Jesus' disciples aske him how to pray,
He said pray thusly,
"Our Father, which art in Heaven. Hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come, thy will be done.
On earth as it is in Heaven, give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as
we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil". This very prayer was composed by
Jesus Himself and is the foundation of all Christian prayer.
As Christians, we recognize all prayers that are uttered are directed to God
through His Son Jesus Christ as Scripture says,
"For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus".
Therefore, in Christian prayer, we lift up our prayers, petitions,
desires, hope, love, and adoration through many mediums (saints, angels, etc.)
but all to one Lord, Jesus the Christ.
Why Does God Not Always Grant Our Prayers?
In order for us to fully understand why God does not answer all of our prayers
we need only remind ourselves the purpose of prayer.
As the Book of James says,
"You ask, and receive not; because you ask amiss:
that you may consume it on your concupiscences." or in other words,
you often pray for things in the wrong way;
if God would grant you your ill conceived prayers they would be used for carnal things.
We may all want to receive riches and power
but if that will cause us to lose our way and die outside God's favor
then God will not give it!
Our Blessed Lord desires first and foremost to be in heaven with Him
and wishes our lives to reflect His light of truth. Remember what Jesus said,
" Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth:
where the rust, and moth consume,
and where thieves break through and steal.
But lay up to yourselves
treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume,
and where thieves do not break through, nor steal.
For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also."
and "Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice,
and all these things shall be added unto you." So when
you pray, pray that your heart will change so that you may want what He wants,
which is to be holy as He is.
What Do I Pray For?
I, like any husband and father, pray to obtain good things for my family.
I work hard to earn what little is not heavily taxed and
give to my children so that they may not go without. However,
there are times I look at my food pantry or the bills I have acquired and I
worry. I find myself lacking in almost everything.
My mind spins and reels at night because I concern myself with what I do not have and
I dream of what I hope to obtain.
I end up poisoning my attitude because I slowly turn inward and ungrateful.
Discouraged, I also allow
my prayer life to suffer because I fill my time with chasing money
rather than turning to God for healing. I then forsake, by my words and
actions, the only one who can truly fulfill me in life and after death.
So what do I pray for? I pray that I may receive the necessary
graces to change the way I see myself, my neighbors, and ultimately how I see God.
I pray for the complete alteration of my mind to
abandon my will so that I may take up His.
I no longer want to be a slave to my wants and passions but rather free in the blessings of my
Heavenly father. I pray everyday that I may love Him more than I did the day before.
This is why I study my faith, teach others, and pray
to Jesus. I pray also to be a strong guidance to my wife and children
that they may love God and serve Him in the way He requests of all of us.
I also pray that everyone that reads this article may be enlightened
to change their lives for the sake of Christ.