Monday, March 8, 2010

40 Days of Lent: Day 7

What is prayer?  What does it mean to you?

Is it a personal conduit to the Lord or a form of personal meditation?

Is it how you ask for things, or thank the maker for his gifts?

How do you use prayer?

Today's reading is very interesting because it shows Jesus teaching his disciples how they should pray.  Not prayer for the sake of prayer, but a meaningful prayer that says it all - it praises God, asks for forgiveness, and prayers for guidance and understanding.  The reading is from Matthew 6:7-15
Jesus said to his disciples:

7"And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

9"This, then, is how you should pray:
" 'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
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14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Do you stand in church and prayer the Lord's prayer with your heart, or your mouth.  I have found that my strength is within my relationship with God and that relationship is nourished by my ability to pray and pray often.  I also find that praying to God helps center my mind and even when I am troubled by events unfolding around me, a quick prayer and reflection help dig me out.

Jesus sat in the garden of Gethsemane and prayed to God about his future and the plans that were unfolding before him.  He prayed so hard that he sweat out blood.  You have to admit that this level of concentration and diligence in his prayers is reflective of the meaning behind his teachings written above.

I sit in church and the great thing about the Catholic church is that it is highly ritualized and that ritual has such majesty and beauty.  I don't go to sit and fulfill and obligation.  I can find God on a nice walk in our local park, or while I am digging into the soil of my back yard.  My prayers are just as important in the privacy of my backyard as they are standing before a priest.

Do this:  take 2 minutes out of your day and Thank God that you woke up, that you got dressed, that you saw the sun rise another morning.  Embrace your existence as a blessing and give thanks to the one who gave it to you.

Thank you, God, for allowing me to share your Word with anyone who will read it.

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