Friday, November 23, 2018
[And Jesus continued,] “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” – Matthew 6:7-8
Oh, so many prayer meetings I have attended when the air was filled with empty phrases, many words, and endless requests of God. And almost every time, I had a secret feeling that we were insulting the intelligence of God and failing to trust in God’s providential wisdom.
In these contemplative years, my prayer life is far more about giving thanks, seeking wisdom, and listening for the voice of God. My intercessory prayers for others typically begin with, “Lord, my heart is reaching out to this person and that circumstance … I want you to know I am filled compassion for them and I need help in my trying to help them.” I trust God will heal in ways that are Divinely wise; I trust God will be there to watch over them; I trust God knows their needs more clearly than I ever could. So I share with the Lord what my heart wants for them … but I do not demand that God do my bidding. I try as best I can to actually ‘HOLD” them in my heart for my sake and for theirs.
After all these years, I find most sermons suffer from too many words and I find so often with prayers. Nowadays I hear more in the thoughtful pauses in the sermon than in the constant stream of words and I hear more in the quiet times of prayer than in the string of prayerful clichés and requests.
I do believe in the maturing of the Christian soul there is also a maturation in the nature of their prayers.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz