Love to Pray

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Love to pray. Take the trouble to pray. Prayer opens your heart until it is big enough to hold and keep God. We must know Jesus in prayer before we can see him in the broken bodies of the poor. – Mother Teresa of Calcutta

We talk of prayer all the time. But how often do we develop the practice of prayer in all things? Prayer teaches us humility, the most important virtue to develop in our relationship to God and to one another. We can pray anywhere, even at work. By this, I don’t mean that we get down on our knees, or strike some pious pose to draw attention to ourselves. Rather, it is the practice of constant interior prayer, that personal conversation with Jesus in the sanctuary of our individual hearts that is the most profound basis for our relationship with him. He meets us where we are. It is his desire to be with us in every moment, in every place, not just on Sunday, or for a few minutes of formal prayer each day.

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Prayer is not just another function we put into our day-planner, that when we have done it, we say, “There, that’s done. Now let me get on with the rest of the day.” Prayer is not just another thing to do. Rather, it is an attitude, as Mother Teresa recognizes here. It is when we allow our prayer to become our life, when we open our hearts until they are large enough to encounter the Source and Goal of our prayer, that we can truly come to know Jesus. It is then that the great miracle happens, we become living prayers. We begin to see Jesus in all those we meet, and especially in the suffering poor. We cannot help but love them all, as Jesus does.

Prayer is meant to change us, not God. When we are moved to pray, it is because we have finally heard the ever-gentle whisper of God, calling us to spend some time with him. This can be done in the immediacy of the rush and tumble of any given moment in our day, or in the sacred spaces of silence and solitude, where we take ourselves apart, purposefully, to spend focused time with the Lord. Prayer, in the end, is an attitude.

It is an openness to God in our every moment. It is the channel of God’s grace in and through us. It is God’s way of saying “I love you,” in the intimate space of our own hearts. It is his way of making us into instruments of that love to others in the midst of our daily lives. So, learn to love to pray. Take the trouble to learn this attitude. It will open you to knowing Jesus as your constant companion. In him all things are possible. Amen!

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