Weekend Reflections for 10/14/16
When Do I Pray? Why Do I Pray? Is It “Good” Prayer?
I have the privilege of talking to many people about their prayer life and experiences in prayer. Very often some of them will tell me that they do not pray well or that they don’t know how to pray or pray well. So I will ask them to describe to me their manner of praying. Some will say that they always talk to God in the morning thanking the Lord for another day of life, perhaps adding that in the evening they review their day and talk to the Lord about that. Others will tell me that very frequently during the day when they have some free time they will speak to the Lord about what’s going on, seeking advice, direction, expressing gratitude, asking for the well-being of someone who is sick or needs assistance. I tell them that in my estimation what they are doing is good prayer.
Some people don’t appreciate their prayer or have a high regard of it because they say that they often pray only when they need something or want help. In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus speaks to this. In the parable about the widow and the judge his teaching is clear: God always hears us when we pray to God in need. Emphasizing this Jesus gives the parable of a defenseless widow importuning an indifferent and dishonest judge. The judge finally relents “because this widow keeps bothering me.” Jesus’ message is clear: if an unjust judge relents “Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?”
For me good prayer is being able to talk and listen to God on a regular basis, familiarly, direct and honest. Sometimes it is just being able to sit quietly with the Lord, knowing and appreciating that the Lord is with you, as well as appreciating the gift of your life in the creation around you. Say Ignatius would say that good prayer is any manner of praying that allows us to be with and talk to the Lord as you would with a good friend.