Prayer: a call to become available, no matter what.
There are perhaps, hundreds of ways to describe what prayer is. Yet here, I would like to look at prayer differently- not so much at what it is - but at what it is not. Prayer is not so much a duty but a privilege one can ever have. It is not a problem that should be sorted out but a gift – one that should be received in gratitude. It’s not the result of our tireless efforts but a moment of grace to which we are invited to enter. Prayer is not what you do actively but it is being passive in the omnipresence of God, who is God of the living not of the dead. He is and we are what we are in His presence.
At times you glimpse into the Inexhaustible Light and are dazzled by it, while other times it is like entering into an empty and deep well without any water. Prayer is not so much what happens in the specific time of the day you have set aside; every hour and every moment of yours is alive with the possibility of genuine prayer.
Whenever you pray, it’s not just you alone who pray, but you unite yourself with the unceasing prayer of the Church on earth and in heaven. As the Church never sleeps; she continuously prays to God and praises His glory! When you pray as a community in a particular geographical place, you rejoice in the company of your brothers and sisters; your eyes lifted up to your Father in awe of his glorious deeds!
Prayer is not so much our doing; it is what God does in us. The only thing that we need to do is to be available for God to act. This is the key for the door that opens up into the vastness of God Himself. This idea of prayer is to be available and let God act on us the way He wants, not the way we want it to be.
In the letter to the Romans, St. Paul tells us that, “the Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness, for, when we do not know how to pray properly (Indeed we do not know at all!), then the Spirit personally makes our petitions for us in groans that cannot be put into words; and he who can see into all hearts knows what the Spirit means because the prayers that the Spirit makes for God’s holy people are always in accordance with the mind of God” (8:26,27).
Here St. Paul reveals a great truth: It is the Spirit that prays in me! When ‘I’ pray I can only pray what comes to ‘my’ mind but when I let the Spirit to pray in me He prays according to the mind of God! Thus, in prayer, the ‘mind of Christ’ is being formed in me, which alone can make me the child of God and allow me to have the joy of being in the Father’s house!
This call to ‘be in the house of the Father’ and rejoice in the knowledge that I am the son/daughter of God is the essence of prayer. When the mind of Christ is being formed in me, my prayer will take the form of a heart-to-heart encounter - I’ll start to hear God speak to my heart (Hos. 2:16) – my personal prayer! And he continuously tells you that ‘you are my beloved in whom I am well pleased’. If you want to hear that again and again, set aside a substantial time and sit down close to the Father’s heart! Yet prayer is not only what I have just told you, the only way to pray is to begin being available and experience the love of the Father. So become available NOW!
Fr. Binu Palakapally,
Jesus Youth UK Pastor
Jesus Youth UK Pastor