By Fr. Roy Cimagala
WE have to understand that prayer is not an optional element in our life. It is something essential and indispensable. We are meant to pray always, making prayer like the very breathing and heartbeat of our spiritual life.
This truth of our faith is clearly articulated by Christ himself when he told his disciples to pray always without becoming weary. (cfr. Lk 18,1) St. Paul reiterated the same idea when he said, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances…” (1Thes 5,16)
And that is simply because prayer is the most basic way we have to get engaged or to get connected with God with whom we have to live our whole life. Our life is not simply our own. It is a life always with our Creator. It’s not a life that is kept in the natural level alone, governed solely by the laws of biology, chemistry, physics and the like. Our life should not just be subject to the sensible realities. It is meant to be spiritual.
And since our life is also spiritual, it is also a life that is meant to be supernatural, since it is meant to be a sharing in the life of God who has created us to be his image and likeness. Thus, we are endowed with intelligence and will so we can know and love him. To top it all, he has given us his grace so that our human nature can be elevated to the supernatural level of God.
It’s a very daunting challenge, no doubt, to be able to pray always and to convert everything that we do into some form of prayer. But whatever difficulty we can encounter in this regard does not detract from the fact that we need to pray always. Anyway, if we would just put our mind and heart into it, constant prayer can truly be achieved.
Let’s always remember that God is always around. He is actually intervening in our life. We can just call his name anytime, and he will all be there for us. That’s how accessible he is to us.
He may test us for a while, just like what happened in that story Christ told his disciples about a dishonest judge and an importunate widow. (cfr. Lk 18,1-8) But such test would only make us strengthen our faith, because Christ assures us that God will always listen and care for us.
It’s moving how that story ended and the lesson Christ wanted to impart to us. “Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?” he asked. “Will he be slow to answer them?” (Lk 18,7)
And it is also good to be reminded that prayer is not only a matter of saying some vocal prayers. It is more a matter of lifting our mind and heart to God in all moments of the day. We need not say anything. We need not do anything external. It is more a matter of being aware that we are always with God, and that everything we do is done with God and for God. That is what prayer is.
We need to convince ourselves that the very core of our consciousness should be God, not just ourselves. We may find that truth of our faith incredible, impracticable, etc. But if we have a strong faith, accompanied by our efforts, no matter how erratic, we can achieve that ideal that God himself means for us!