On Prayer

Friends in Christ, today in the gospel, Our Lord urges us to pray: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find.’
How many times in the gospels does Jesus, not only urge us to pray, but he himself, very often, prays. He prays alone, he prays with his disciples, he prays during the day and sometimes all night!
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Some people want to do many good things for God: help the poor – this is good. Teach children their religion – that is good. Visit the sick – very good. But we must know that none of our actions will be fruitful unless we pray.
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St. Joseph Cafasso says, that when a person is a person of work, or study, or of learning, but not a person of prayer – then of what use are those things? Regarding worldly tasks, how many times does a person say, ‘this task simply MUST get done,’ and then prayer is set aside, no time for it.
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Some people exercise each day: ‘I simply have to do this, my doctor told me, its for my health.’ And they never miss a day; there are no excuses which could change their mind – This is good, but this is to tend to the health of the body. But isn’t the soul more valuable than the body? The body will decay and rot. But the soul lives forever. If we can make time for our exercises, or other things that we deem important, how is it that we can’t find the time to pray for 20 minutes?
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Another question is, HOW do we pray? St. Augustine gives some advice on this: He says, place yourself at the foot of the cross with Mary, before that God who became Man and died for you, and then think about anything you wish – that will be prayer. Prayer is not just asking for things, children do that. Prayer is mostly talking – to the one we love, and listening. When we just sit or kneel with a spiritual book or the Holy Scriptures and think about the Lord – if we do this each day with our friend who is God, then we are praying well.
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In this way, everything we do will be for the glory of God; our work will be fruitful, and bring about a thousand unforeseen benefits and blessings.

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