The Gospel for Ash Wednesday (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18) asks us to do three things: pray, fast and give alms. Today I want to focus on prayer as we journey through Lent. Studies show that prayer is a very common, very popular activity. Even those who do not believe in God pray!
What is prayer, and how should we pray? Prayer is intimate communion and conversation with God. Using Jesus’ own life as an example, prayer is something that we ought to do often, especially at key moments in our lives. How should we pray? What does it look like? You have to pray with faith, and according to Jesus’ model, you have to pray with forgiveness. The efficacy of prayer seems to depend heavily on the reconciliation of differences.
You also have to pray with persistence. One reason that we don’t receive what we want through prayer is that we give up too easily. St. Augustine said that God sometimes delays in giving us what we want because he wants our hearts to expand. Finally, we have to pray in Jesus’ name. In doing so we are relying on his influence with the Father, trusting that the Father will listen to him.
As we pray this Lent do so with faith, with forgiveness, with persistence and in Jesus name so that his power may magnify in our lives bringing healing from our sinful state.
Fr. Christopher Roberts