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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

Praying Always

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

(Ephesians 6:18 NKJV)

We are at the end, for most of us, of the holiday period and we have already projected ourselves into the resumption of countless activities, work, family and ecclesial. The days of the holidays were full of plans and good intentions, but I'm afraid they didn't quite materialize. Despite the commitment, it seems that you can never find time to dedicate to us and to what is dearest to us. All year we are saying that we have no time to devote to prayer, relegated to being the Cinderella of our occupations and concerns. I personally endeavored to carve out time, supported by other servants as well, managing time and letting my soul breathe. As long as we hide behind various excuses, we declare that we are not men of prayer and that we do not know how to pray. I think that if we recognize this limit, then we should express all the desire to learn to pray, without any shame, as the disciples did.

In an unspecified place, while the Master is praying, they observe and perhaps join in silence. They are attracted, because a man who prays, and truly prays, possesses and transmits something that is not of this world. I have read that “whoever knows how to pray participates in the very value of God, he has a value that surpasses all boundaries. While those who do not know how to pray are of very little value”. Here then is that one of the disciples boldly finds courage and asks: "Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1). When you approach the Master to ask him something, you have grasped something extremely important, you have made his teaching your own. We do not wait until we are in need to discover the power of prayer. Maybe today that request can be yours. The disciple, who remained anonymous, does not ask to know a method to pray better, to obtain more answers, as we might think. What do we ask with "Lord, teach us to pray"? Are we perhaps recognizing that we have to start from scratch, because until now our prayers were not such?

In this case, we are bitterly expressing a sense of inability and helplessness, poverty and loneliness. Precisely for this reason we need that prayer which is an encounter with God, where our superficial and empty life discovers the taste of existence. No longer a sterile attempt, but the certainty of listening and dialogue with the heavenly Father. Christian prayer is therefore entering into the dialogue of Jesus with the Father. To pray is to desire, listen, believe and feel the Spirit of the Son, the Spirit who intercedes with us with ineffable sighs, as Paul writes (Romans 8:26), helping all our weaknesses. We learn to pray, praying Jesus to teach us, because prayer will never be an achievement, but only a divine gift. The time that we will be able to dedicate to him will not be wasted, because as Augustine of Hippo said "whoever has learned to pray has learned to live". Whoever has made Paul's indications to the Ephesians his own can assure us that by learning to pray, we find ourselves enabled to live in the will of the Father, to resist the temptations of the one who "goes around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5: 8), to overcome every obstacle that seems insurmountable to us, to face and to defeat every giant that stands in our path, despite our limited abilities. And then, there is no higher place to stand than the feet of the Lord.

Bible Weekly Reading

Plan #36

August 30, Psalms 129-131; 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 August 31, Psalms 132-134; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 September 01, Psalms 135-136; 1 Corinthians 12 September 02, Psalms 137-139; 1 Corinthians 13 September 03, Psalms 140-142; 1 Corinthians 14:1-20 September 04, Psalms 143-145; 1 Corinthians 14:21-40 September 05, Psalms 146-147; 1 Corinthians 15:1-28

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