RESPONSIBLE PRAYER

Meditation for Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
(Is 55:10-10; Mt 6:7-15)

One of the important things we are encouraged to engage ourselves in this season of Lent is prayer. Jesus takes prayer very seriously. Today, He teaches us HOW NOT TO PRAY: “In praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” The ‘words of prayer’ are neither to ‘convince’ God nor to ‘inform’ Him about what we are asking for. “For your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” This means that what is first required of us is the intention to pray, the setting out of time and composure in prayer. With one’s heart and mind rendered to God in prayer, even when words cannot come out like Hannah, God will still hear the prayer. “Hannah was praying silently; she moved her lips but uttered no sound and Eli thought Hannah was drunk” (1 Sam 1:13). But when numerous words are uttered, there is a high tendency that the heart and mind will be diverted to the construction of beautiful and pleasant words! This leads to self-absorption and the ‘exaltation’ of one’s problems…

Then, Jesus teaches us HOW TO PRAY. “Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be your name…” In prayer, our hearts and sentiments are directed to God, His glory, and righteousness. And prayer calls us to RESPONSIBILITY towards God and our neighbor. That is why our need for daily bread is neither the first nor the last item in the prayer Jesus taught us. Also, that is why He asked us prayer though He knows our needs. We make prayer our life; we begin to live out and treat others with that intention we desire from God. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you.” It can also be said that if you share your bread with the hungry, your heavenly Father will give you your daily bread!

Jesus assures us that God does not fail to answer our prayers. His blessings come down like rain and snow from heaven. His promises are accomplished; His words achieve their purposes, “Giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater.” Following the words of prophet Isaiah, the confidence and assurance that bring us to pray without ceasing are not in our might or mastery of prayer, but in the authority of the word of Jesus. We flourish more in prayer when we begin to allow the power of the love of Jesus to summon us and sustain us in prayer. That is why the highest point in prayer is when we are fully sustained by this divine love in contemplation. May your day be filled with this divine touch that feeds us. Amen.

 

Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Tedi-Muwo, Lagos.
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021.
Memorial of St Polycarp
www.nwachinwe.blogspot.com

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