What Is Prayer?

Prayer is dialog with God. Forget your usual monolog.
by Father Nicolás Schwizer | Source: Schoenstatt Press Office

If we look at modern man, we see that he works, hurries, and is busy. He has no time for God….no time to listen to God….no time to talk with God….no time to pray. How little time we dedicate to prayer!

We cannot separate our prayer from our Christian life; they always go together. Saint Agustin expresses this interior relationship between the life of prayer and the Christian life in the following manner: “Whoever prays well, lives well.” The contrary can also be said: whoever prays badly, lives badly.

Saint Teresa also explains: “For me it is always the same: to pray and to find the way to God.” Indeed, whoever does not pray, never finds the way to God. We understand it this way because many of our contemporaries do not live as Christians, do not have a personal relationship with God, neither do they make the effort to pray.

Saint Alphonse speaks harshly to prayer-lacking people: “Whoever does not pray, whoever ceases to pray, will not be condemned…..because they have already condemned themselves.” Even though we do not lose the hope of salvation for these people, nevertheless, we know that prayer is absolutely necessary to be a vital Christian, to be a new man, a new person.

What then is prayer? Simply said, prayer is to dialog personally with God, it is speaking person to person with the Creator.

Our prayer is impersonal when there is only repetition without reflection….when it is only lip-moving....when there is no interior interest in what we say exteriorly. It is what God says to the Jews through the prophet Isaiah: “This people draws near with words only and honors me with their lips alone, though their hearts are far from me, and their reverence for me has become routine observance of the precepts of men.” (Isaiah 29:13).

On the contrary, prayer is dialog with God, a vital intercommunication between God and I. I speak to God as a very dear human person....I talk about my personal and family interests….and mainly about God’s interests, all which I personally experience, feel, desire, suffer…..I tell it all to God.

When praying, I take moments of silence in which I reflect on my condition through God’s lenses, through what the Church teaches in Scriptures. I let God speak to my heart. I seek to identify God’s will for all the intentions I lifted in prayer, and I also seek the grace of patience to wait to understand God’s will on his perfect timing – no my own – and the grace to persevere in prayer so I can remain in peace regardless of the current circumstances in my life. There will always be crosses, but through there is always peace.

Through prayer, I am united to God in prayer with my whole being, with my entire life, with all my joy, with all my problems. Thus our prayer ought to be natural, or as Saint Therese teaches us: A “spontaneous chat” with the personal God. Prayer, in this sense, takes the whole person, especially the heart because true prayer is also understood as a dialog of the heart between God and the person.

There is a proverb which says: It is better to pray with a lot of heart and few words than to pray with many words and little heart. Prayer with the heart is a sign of mature love and of deep attachment to God. According to the measure in which love becomes deeper, it needs fewer gestures and fewer words to express itself. More and more it needs tranquility in order to love in silence.

Many Christians think they do not have time to pray. Time is not lacking! What is really lacking is to value God because we have time for all that is important to us: TV, sports, vacation, partying. We do not have time for God is because we have got it upside down, and -- to our entire disadvantage -- have not given God the proper importance. We miss the point that the very meaning of human life is to serve God. (Deuteronomy 10:12). Rather, we go about our busy lives wasting our time as we try to make ourselves, our desires, and other creations as more important than the Creator. As a result, we grow empty and keep wasting time on seeking perishable things, worrying, and going our own way, away from God’s path and plan for us.

As in each friendship, our friendship with God also requires a little bit of time, some attention, some care. If we love, we must find time to love. Prayer is stopping and making time to cultivate our friendship with God. A true friendship comes forth slowly: one must have patience to love.

Questions for Reflection
1. How is my dialog with God?
2. How many words and how much heart are in my prayers?


If you wish to subscribe, comment on the text or give your testimony, write to: pn.reflexiones@gmail.com


Translation: Carlos Cantú
Edited by: Catholic.net



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