Our need to pray 

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE should never underestimate the importance and indispensability of prayer in our life. It is what keeps us in union with God. And that union is what is meant for us if we truly would like to live as God’s image and likeness, as God wants us to be. With that union, we would know how to view, understand and decide things in our life. We would share God’s power.

Christ himself showed these effects of prayer when in the gospel, it is said that after spending the night in prayer, he chose his apostles and healed many sick people. (cfr. Lk 6,12-19) We have to remember that Christ is the pattern of our humanity. What he did and accomplished, we could also do and accomplish if we truly identify ourselves with him.

We have to understand that it’s when we pray, that is, when we truly pray and not just going through the motions of praying, that we would be engaging ourselves with the most important person in our life, God himself. He is absolutely our everything, without whom nothing and no one has any importance.

It’s when we pray that we manage to relate who we are, what we have, what we do, etc. to our ultimate end which, to be sure, is not something only natural but is also supernatural. Nothing therefore can rival the importance of prayer. In other words, prayer is irreplaceable, unsubstitutable, indispensable. It’s never optional, though it has to be done freely if we want our prayer to be real prayer.

We really need to learn to pray and to make prayer a constant thing for us in our life, like breathing. We need to go through a certain training for this, developing the proper and relevant attitudes, discipline and practices, so that this ideal can become a reality.

Without prayer, there’s no way but to succumb to our weaknesses and the many temptations around, sooner or later. We can think that we can simply be on our own which is a most terrible mindset that can possess us.

Prayer is by definition an act of love. As such, it brings us out of ourselves to attach ourselves to God. And when we unite ourselves with God in prayer, then we can start to share in his power, in his understanding of things, etc. And love in turn is always self-perpetuating. It never stops giving itself to God. As one saint would put it, “The measure of love is to love without measure.”

And because of our love for God, then our prayer which is an act of love for God will always lead us to love others. That is always the trajectory of a true, love-inspired prayer. Its vertical aspect never leaves behind the horizontal aspect.

It definitely would not be real prayer if after a period of prayer we end up thinking more of ourselves, and less or hardly anything about the others. If our prayer is a genuine union with God, there is no way but to sharpen our interest, concern and love for the others.

We should always feel our need for prayer, and meet that need with an earnest effort to learn and do it. Let’s be convinced that when we pray we become more and more human and Christian. Let’s remember that our humanity and Christianity, while already with us, are a dynamic and living enterprise, a continuing work in progress. Prayer is what accomplishes that progress!

            Email: roycimagala@gmail.com