From the Pastor's Desk
So often in the Scriptures, especially in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus encouraged his Apostles (and us) to pray. He even said “Pray always.”
“Keep in touch!” we say to friends we don’t see everyday as we take our leave from them. It is important to us to hear from the people we love and to share what is happening in our own lives with them. We want and need that personal communication.
Jesus lived in deep, intimate communion with the Father. He can rightly be called “The Man of Prayer.” Just as certainly, Jesus wanted to be in communion with his disciples. Jesus prayed with them and they witnessed Jesus in prayer to the Father. Jesus taught them to pray and to pray always. Knowing that the day was coming when he would be physically separated from his disciples, he urged them to “stay in touch,” to pray unceasingly. Jesus wanted his disciples to believe and trust that he would be with them always, even to the end of the ages. Prayer was the way they would stay in the abiding presence of Jesus and live in communion with him. Jesus provided a model of communion with the Father to his disciples. Through persistent prayer, the disciples would be conscious that Jesus would always be in deep communion with them as well.
We often tend to think that prayer is an individual, personal, private action. And certainly, there must be a quiet, personal, private habit of prayer to the Lord in each of our lives. Jesus said, “Go to your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in private.”
But prayer is also communal. It is no accident that the Church calls our sharing in the Eucharist (which is the Greek word for thanksgiving) “Communion.” In prayer we become more fully a people, united with God and with one another. As we hear in the first reading, Moses did not go alone to the mountaintop to raise his arms in prayer to God. He was accompanied by two friends, two others who were conscious of the presence of God in their lives. Aaron and Hur physically and emotionally helped Moses continue his supplications to God, even supporting his arms when he tired. The three of them united in prayer raised their arms to God.
In the Gospel Jesus tells his disciples, “Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him daily and night?” By means of a parable, Jesus insists that if we persist in prayer, especially if “two are three” are united in prayer, God will see that justice is done.
The Eucharist is our most sacred communal prayer and it includes petition, forgiveness, praise and thanksgiving.
There are no wrong ways to pray. For private prayer, I often like to pray with Scripture. I read a bit and think a bit about it, trying to hear the word the Lord wants to speak to me. And I like to use my imagination. Sometimes I picture myself as a bystander in the crowd hearing Jesus speak or seeing him heal and I try to imagine what the others around me are thinking or feeling. Sometimes I imagine myself as the one being touched and healed by Jesus. I try to get in touch with what that person is thinking and feeling. Sometimes I dare to even imagine what Jesus, himself, is thinking and feeling.
Experiment with prayer. Try different types and styles, oral, silent, with different postures and gestures. Discover what most helps you enter into communion with God. Sometimes I address my prayer to Christ, at other times to the Holy Spirit, or to God the Father. What is important is that we pray!
Paul charges Timothy and surely us, as well: “Be persistent.” Prayer is not always easy, but is always holy.
Peaceful Ridge Cemetery
Mausoleum - Monuments - Cremation
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