July 24, 2016 - 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Having trouble praying? We probably all need a little help with our prayer life from time to time. Here are some of the most common problems I’ve found people have with prayer.
Maybe it’s the wrong time. If you say, “I keep falling asleep during my prayer,” then I want to suggest that you may be praying at the wrong time.
Maybe it’s the wrong place. If you say, “I keep getting interrupted or distracted during prayer,” then I want to suggest that you may be praying in the wrong place.
Maybe it’s the wrong form. There are many different ways to pray. Meditation. The Rosary. The Jesus Prayer. Lexio Divina. Intercessory Prayer. Thanksgiving. Formal prayers. Spontaneous prayers. Praying with scripture.
None of these are right or wrong; but if you say, “I just feel like I’m going through the motions,” then maybe it’s time to try a different type of prayer.
Now we can read about prayer all we want and that might help us discover these different forms of prayer. It might even give us some helpful advice. But reading a book on prayer is not the same as praying.
We actually have to do it to get better at it. We actually have to practice prayer and do prayer and live prayer.
I recommend a set time and a specific place and a form of prayer that works for you. Lord I’ll be back tomorrow at the same time and the same place.
Prayer is about relationship. Prayer is about visiting with an old friend. The conversation between Abraham and God shows that prayer has the power to change things.
The disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray. And he gives them the “Our Father.” There are basically five parts to the “Our Father.”
Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name. In this first part, we adore the holy name of the Lord God. And how does Jesus do that? In the most intimate way possible. Abba. Daddy.
Give us this day our daily bread. In this part we ask that our daily needs be met.
Forgive us our trespasses. Here we ask for forgiveness for the sins we committed today.
As we forgive those who trespass against us. Then we request help in order to be able to forgive those who have wronged us. We need to ask for this because forgiveness can be a difficult thing. But it is necessary for healing.
And lead us not into temptation. Finally we ask to be saved from evil and sin and temptation.
The prayer comes in the form of a conversation, first a greeting, then a request for divine assistance.
It is much like the conversation between Abraham and God in the first reading. The prayer conversation between Abraham and God influenced God. God listened to Abraham. God spoke back to Abraham. And God responded to Abraham’s request.
Jesus says to ask. Jesus says to seek. Jesus says to knock.
Time. Place. Form. Establishing these three things will help us have a better conversation with Jesus. And that conversation will slowly become like the conversation between God and Abraham.
“Lord, for the sake of these people whom I love, won’t you do this?” “Yes, for the sake of these people you love, I will do it.”