Why Pray, How to Pray?

God gives each thing the capacity to be itself. To human beings, He gives much more: Himself as Father, making them His children, similar to Himself. Creation is a continuous action. Like the water gushing out always new from a spring, thus Creation from its Creator.

He is the Craftsman who operates in the world so that it may be liveable and beautiful (Psalm 104; Acts 14: 17; Psalm 19). He operates, above all, in the human beings to whom alone the Word is entrusted, made so that they may listen and answer back; they are His interlocutors. The dialogue with Him makes them free, capable of filial and brotherly life.

To human beings, as God’s partners, the sense and destiny of Creation are entrusted. Created on the sixth day, human beings can be pontiffs (they can act as bridges, i.e. bridge the gap) between the world and God: answering back to His love, they bring back Creation to its beginning – to the seventh day of joy and full life, when God will be all in all things (1 Corinthians 15: 28). The universe is a musical chart, a melody without sounds. Those who read it and interpret it makes it become what it is: endless harmony and beauty (Psalm 19).

God is love and love gives everything away, even Himself. The gift, however, exists only if desired and accepted; hence, the necessity of prayer which St Augustine calls “the gym of desire”. The term “prayer” is related to “precarious” (“to live, to depend on the kindness of other people”). Everything is precarious.

We, by means of prayer, attach ourselves and all our things to our Source, living out in unending gratefulness. Without prayer, life, from being a gift and grace, becomes possession and disgrace – a devastating, continuous struggle in order to grab it and keep it. Hence, the value of intercession (to put ourselves in the middle): the one who prays becomes a bridge to God, putting everything in communion with Him. Because of this, prayer is everything and gives everything (John 15:1).

Jesus made the apostles so “that they might be with Him.” United to Him, the Son, they became children of the Father, capable of loving the brethren and overcoming evil (Mark 3: 14). If, in the Church, there are so many things to be done, the Apostles decided to leave them to others, in order to dedicate themselves to prayer and the service of the Word (Acts 6: 4). Moses also, in order to defeat the enemies who, symbolize evil, kept his hands lifted up to heaven (Exodus 17: 8–13). Paul, as well, exhorted the faithful to fight with him through prayer (Romans 15: 30; Colossians 4: 12).

Evil, the true enemy, is within us and can be defeated only by prayer which is communion with the Father and all His creatures. The fruits of prayer are not miracles. The miracles of Jesus are signs: they manifest a love that knows how to give life. In fact, the gift that we infallibly get in prayer is the Holy Spirit (Luke 11: 13): God’s very life, the love between the Father and the Son.

True prayer, as we petition in the Our Father, is: “May Your will be done.” To do the will of God, who is love for everything and everyone, is the true miracle that prayer produces. Of the other gifts, we can doubt. A desert father used to say: “Once, I asked God a favour and He granted it to me. Since then, I have asked Him only that His will may be done, not mine.” God does everything. One thing, however, He cannot do and leaves to our freedom: to say “yes” to His eternal “yes” to us—and our “yes” is like a switch: it gives light to us and all around us.

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Contact me at: javier@comboniyouth.org

Father Javier Alvarado Ayala