By Engr. Carlos Cornejo
Prayer is coming home to God and enjoying His company. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines prayer as the “raising of our mind and heart to God.” This definition was authored originally by St. John Damascene and was adopted by the Church as it’s official definition of prayer. Prayer is very important in developing a deep and genuine relationship with God that without a life of prayer no such relationship would exist. No prayer. No relationship. Much like no mask, no entry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If a boy has a crush on a girl and wants the girl to become his girlfriend, courtship has to happen. A shy boy would dread the term ‘courtship’ because he feels like it’s a very complicated process of convincing the girl to enter into a relationship with him. But courtship is simply knowing how to make friends. In fact, friendship has to happen first before a boy can court a girl. Otherwise, the girl would easily be turned off if you hardly know her and then court her right away. Although, such quick relationship can happen nowadays but I doubt such a relationship could last. I think it will just be an “easy come, easy go” kind of relationship. If friendship is there before courtship, the transition from friendship to courtship would then be easier.
In the case of prayer, it is God who is courting us that’s why He gave us that initial inspiration to come to Him to pray. You might think it was just your idea to go to Him to pray, but you have to remember that we have a thing called conscience, and that conscience is God’s homing device on us. Conscience is God’s voice inside us and that’s where he encourages us to do good and avoid evil and among the good things He entices us to do, is to go to Him to pray. God is determined that we develop a life of prayer simply because God is a Father who is longing to be in a relationship with His children.
Our talking to God in prayer has to be constant in order to grow in our relationship with Him. How constant? Every single day. At least 10 to 15 minutes for beginners. You can transition to longer than that if you become more regular because mind you, you will surely feel the need to do so. In fact, the reason why we feel at peace when we pray is because God is encouraging us to do it more often. If God wants it and then you eventually want it too, can you imagine the peacefulness you could experience by such union of wills? That’s why there is no saint that is not a soul of prayer because prayer is the closest thing to heaven. This is what the Church would call meditative prayer. Such kind of prayer would not run out of things to pray because it makes use of spiritual reading books, Holy Scripture, and your own words or more specifically your own day-to-day life that becomes the unending topic for prayer. We are used to the vocal formula prayers such as the Our Father and Hail Mary given to us by our Mother the Church. It’s high time we add to that the so-called meditative prayer or mental prayer which is a heart-to-heart talk to God in the silence of our hearts. Armed with these two kinds of prayer, we can reach unimaginable heights in our spiritual life. To be continued.