By Mary Sayad
Question to ponder - "What is prayer and how does it work?"
The dictionary defines prayer as the act of offering reverent petitions, especially to God. Communication with God and recognition of His presence as in praise, thanksgiving, intercession, etc. A form of words appropriate to prayer, a memorial or petition.
Synonyms: adoration, devotion, invocation, litany, petition, request, supplication. See petition.
I turned the dictionary pages and located Petition.
Petition - A request, supplication, prayer; a solemn or formal supplication. A formal request addressed to a person in authority and asking for some grant or benefit, the redress of a grievance, etc. See synonym under ASK, PRAY.
The dictionary often has us checking and double checking similar words of the same meaning to insure that we fully understand and grasp the meaning of a particular word. Sometimes we may feel as if we are spinning in a circle that persistently brings us back to the original word in question.
People who pray frequently and attend religious services regularly understand the meaning of prayer and they certainly would not require definitions from a dictionary. These people are already in touch with the Lord and maintain an open communication or conversation with Our Heavenly Father. This is a spiritually sound and faithful belief or knowing that God is listening and hears our supplications.
Hebrews 4:16 - So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and favor to find help in time of need.
1 John 3:21, 22 - Beloved, if our consciences have nothing to charge us with, we can be sure that God is with us and that we will receive at his hands whatever we ask. Why? Because we are keeping his commandments and doing what is pleasing in his sight.
For many unfortunate individuals who prefer not to believe in God (atheists and agnostics), or to accept that He is our Supreme Creator, life is bland and empty. They would prefer to not have the Commandments imposed upon them believing that they are more free without God's laws. Actually, these people are enslaved to their sins and lose the sense of the meaning of life. When desperate and difficult situations arise in their lives, they are unable to master their problems and they often become despondent. They have very few people that they trust, have no one to turn to and are unable to make sound decisions. How sad that the lifestyle they choose entraps them into deeper sin undermining their freedoms. Sin separates them from God and from eternal salvation.
But here's the key to resolving an unbeliever's despondence: Our Heavenly Father loves us more than we can imagine and is forever ready and waiting to hear from the fallen IF they are sincerely willing to repent and change their ways:
11 Chronicles 30:9 - For when you return to the Lord, your brethren and your children will find mercy with their captors and return to this land; for merciful and compassionate is the Lord, your God, and he will not turn away his face from you if you return to him.
We pray also when we share our thoughts about God, Jesus and Mary and the saints in our conversations with our family and friends. Most of the times we are not even aware that we are praying when we discuss the life of Jesus and the saints.
How does prayer work? How do you develop a mind in conformity with truth? Are the answers to these questions complicated?
Friends, I am not a theologian and I struggle to reach philosophical conclusions yet I know that prayer turns impossible situations into things that are possible. Perhaps like yourselves, I am an individual daily seeking to live my life with the concentration of will and the energy of my soul. I am aware that life should radiate the love and compassion of Jesus and Mary instead of indulging in aimless infatuations of the world.
The power of prayer touches human hearts and because prayer has the power to change natural laws, prayer although intangible, is the essence of communication with God. It is rooted in the Holy Spirit and the Holy Trinity.
Prayer works or is answered when we develop a relationship with Our Heavenly Father, Jesus and Mary. Daily prayer, reading the Holy Bible and regularly attending mass and also by praying as a community in church and/or in small groups as in rosary recitals is a valuable source of spiritual living. Quietly display your faith with grace, humility and ease, never arrogance.
Practice makes perfect. Developing relationships takes time. The Lord is a patient, understanding and compassionate Father and He understands that sometimes our thoughts become distracted during prayer, and that sometimes because we are imperfect humans we will waiver from the Commandments. Nevertheless, when we hold tight to our convictions, supplications and our dedication to the Lord, we optimize our personal relationship with Him. We know that He is always with us and that He will sustain us during difficult times as well as bring us joy during times of jubilation. We empower ourselves when we communicate with God.
**** The grace of prayer works when we strengthen our faith and trust in the Lord with constant dedication and conviction. Remember to always give praise and thanksgiving to God Who loves us more than we can imagine. Regardless of our means, we achieve peace in our hearts when we thank God for providing us with all the blessings He showers upon us daily. Learn to be patient and to maintain your focus so that your faith may sky rocket!
Our Blessed Mother prayed daily from midnight to dawn. She recited the Psalms from memory. Imagine her dynamic and pure love of God!
O Lord, I will praise you with all my heart, and tell
Everyone about the marvelous things you do,
I will be glad, yes, filled with joy because of you.
I will sing your praises, O Lord God above all gods.
I have briefly touched on the power of prayer and its positive impact in our personal lives as well as for the world situaition. Indeed, volumes could be written regarding prayer.
In the name of Jesus and Mary, may God grant you many graces! Please continue to pray for world peace, for the safety of all the military and their families. Thank you for your continued prayers.
Your companion in prayer,