Matthew 6: 5-14 (NIV)
This blog accompanies the video The Lord’s Prayer that can be found here.
Why do we pray?
Sometimes when I feel isolated, alone or suffering, people suggest that I pray, to reach out to God. But, I don’t even know where to start. What is prayer, anyways? Why does it matter? I have no idea what to say? Why would He even listen to me since I hardly ever think about Him?
So, I ask, why should I pray? How is it best to pray? Who answers my prayers? What if I don’t get an answer to my prayers?
At one point or another in life, we all have times when we question whether prayers even work. St. Bonaventure, a Franciscan friar (1221-1274 AD), wrote some powerful reasons on how prayer works. These are summarized, but we’d like you to consider each and to review how our conversations with God (or some other heavenly being) could change the way we think and live. We should try to remember that God always answers our prayers – sometimes by refusing our requests because there might be a better answer or sometimes by giving us more time to process and consider our requests. But, no matter how God responds or doesn’t respond, there are some very tangible benefits to prayer according to St. Bonaventure. In his book ,“Six Wings of the Seraph,” he reminds us that:
- Prayer illumines the mind and stimulates the desire for the true good,
- it gives us strength to fulfill our responsibilities, and assures that our actions are virtuous,
- it discourages sin,
- it harmonizes and synchronizes our words with our actions,
- it kindles in us the love of God, and makes us pleasing to God,
- it gives us confidence,
- it teaches humility to the heart and tenderness,
- it strengthens us in the face of adversity,
- it makes us joyful when we do good works.
Yes, that process of verbalizing our needs, our joys or sorrows, our fears, of thanking or asking forgiveness or simply acknowledging a loving God, makes a difference and changes who we are – even when our God seems to be distracted by what we think might be more important things and doesn’t “answer” our prayers.
- Does prayer have a place in your life? Why? Why not?
- What are some things you would like to pray for?