Mt 6:7-15 Praying The Right Way

Jesus said to his disciples:  “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them.”
Like so many things in life, even praying is no longer a debatable issue; it has become an entirely subjective affair in which you can’t go wrong.  But the Lord said that you can go wrong.  Yes, you can actually pray the wrong way, just like you can ask someone for something the wrong way. 
Some people consider prayer to be a form of art:  a free expression of one’s inner most feelings.  Well, it is; and just like with singing, we can pray with all our heart.  But if we are not careful to follow a certain set of rules, then our praying, as with our singing, could easily be confused with screaming and yelling.  It could actually end up being distractive and disruptive.  Hence, praying can easily turn into “babbling”, just like art into “drippings”.  And there are plenty of critics who will go around spitting all over your “feelings” if you don’t express them “the proper way.”
The Lord hears our prayers.  But does He understand them?  Does He like them?  Yes, we should pray with all our heart, just like we sing with all our heart, but in order to be understood, do I follow certain rules? 
I don’t want to sound technical, but there are a couple of rules that we can learn in order to pray the way our Lord wanted us to pray.
Pray to God.   Not too long ago I saw, on television, the awarding of the Medal of Honor to a soldier.  The ceremony began with an opening prayer.  Now the ceremony itself was moving, touching, beautiful, heartfelt and deserving of our respect, but the prayer was not.  It was abysmal.  It was extremely wordy (extremely long) and extremely clumsy.  It sounded more like a speech rather than a prayer.  It sounded more like a call to “hooray” than to prayer.  Finally, it sounded more like a defense of foreign policy than a prayer of love and sacrifice freely offered as a holocaust to God.  To put it bluntly, this prayer sounded “government issued”.  Prayer is not a proper disguise for the righteous of heart but for sinners at heart.  It is an expression of humility, not an expression of triumph.
When I pray, do I pray to God or to men?
Thy Kingdom Come.  We have it good, there’s no doubt about it.  And most of us are living the “good” life.  But there is something even better – greater – to life than just being comfortable.  It is to be meaningful.  When we pray, we should not be demanding that earth goes up to Heaven (that Heaven appears more like earth or the United States), but that Heaven comes down to earth (that earth or the United States appears more like heaven).  We want Heaven to come down to earth.  We want God’s Will, God’s Love, and God’s Son over our life.  So when we pray, we should be seeking to do God’s Will in our lives, not the imposition of our will in God’s life.  Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.          
When I pray, do I pray that my will be done or God’s Will be done?
Resolution:  When I pray, I will pray to God, not to another.  I will seek to do God’s Will in my life and the establishment of His Kingdom on earth, especially in the United States of America.


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Fr. Alfonse (1044 Posts)

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