Luke 11: 1-4 Teach Me To Pray
Prayer is a battle. These are the first words written in the fourth part of the Catechism of the Catholic Church under the banner “The Battle of Prayer.” Why is prayer a battle? Because life is a battle. Prayer makes all the difference between life and death, success and failure. The Lord’s prayers were those of a warrior. He chose to fight because he chose to pray. He chose to die because he chose to accept the Will of the Father. Talking about prayer is not the same as praying. Praying is not the same as talking. Prayer is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Prayer is God’s gift to us. Prayer is “a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us” (St. Teresa of Jesus). Prayer is the passage way between heaven and earth – God and man.
Lord, teach us to pray. All it takes is a sincere heart. I wish to pray. I need to pray. Only then will I take time to pray. Time is never the problem. We find time to do all sorts of things: rise, shower, eat, drive, chit-chat, gossip, sin, lunch, smoke, TV, etc. The problem with prayer is that it can be boring! But who is boring?
A few years back we took our students to see and hear the Dallas Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert was in celebration of Mozart’s 400th anniversary. With the saddest face on his little face, a student, sitting next to me, leaned over and whispered in my ear, “this is boring.” I looked at him and told him, “You are boring!” God is not boring. I am boring! Especially when I ask for the same things over and over again, and the Lord has told me, over and over again, “No!” The reason why I think God does not hear my prayer or does not love me is because the Lord does not say, “yes” to me. It is similar to a young lady who, after reflecting on it, realized that the only time she ever hated her mom is when she said “no” to her.
The Apostles asked the Lord, teach us to pray. How does the Lord want me to pray? The answer is similar to the Commandment: With all my mind and with all my heart, the center of all my decisions and the temple of God’s glory. Words will never be sufficient. “Lord, lord…Daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy…will never soften the Giant’s heart. But a heart open to God’s Will will! Daddy, what can I do for you? The Lord always marveled at the remarkable faith of the Gentiles and sinners. He was scandalized by the lack of faith of his own disciples and race.
What is the greatest moment of my day that brings to me the greatest amount of joy? I should probably say, celebrating the Mass. And it definitely would not be a lie. But, the most consistent joy I receive in my heart is found early in the morning, alone, in silence, in the simplicity of my office, in my daily meditation on the Word of God. How he speaks to me, listens to me, opens my heart to be with him. It is a battle, that’s for sure. But it is also a journey, a trip into Heaven’s rings. There I find my Savior, my Lord and my best friend. He, who strengthens me, chastises me, loves me and forgives me, will never be far from me. In prayer, I see how God can truly be all for all and all for me. He is the one who places the words in my thoughts and upon my lips. He is the one who feeds my soul and lifts my heart to “Go throughout the world, and preach the Good News.” And it all begins like Cinderella. “In my own little corner in my own little room."