By: Bradley Opitz
Prayer can be an intimidating subject. There have been times when I have heard someone talking about prayer and a feeling of inadequacy comes over me. You may hear stories of Saints or even people at Church talk about the importance of their prayer life. To be a person who claims to be a Christian, a follower of Christ, I know that prayer has to be my focus and my goal throughout the day.
You may be like me in the fact that you have a need to understand why things work so that you might know how they work. In Sacred Scripture the Church shows us that we were created to communicate with God. In the beginning God created Adam and Eve. He placed them in the garden to care for it. While in the garden God was with Adam and He was with Eve. They spent time together. Their day revolved around their communication with God; prayer. They relied on God for everything they had and for everything they needed. Their hands were continually opened like a beggar or a child waiting for God to give them what they needed. They were completely dependent on God.
The world might look and feel different since Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden but our reliance on God has not changed. We still have a need to communicate with God. Prayer is our lifeline to God. It allows you to know God’s plan for your life, see Jeremiah 29:11. It allows you to share your joy, your victories, to ask for the things you need, to correct wrongs in your life, to give meaning to suffering by uniting it with Christ on the cross. Prayer gives you understanding and wisdom. It allows you to stand firm against sin and the deceptions the enemy tells you: you are not good enough, you will never live up to expectations, you are not beautiful, you are weak, you are alone, no one could ever love you… Through prayer you are provided hope in the victory that Christ has over your life.
There have been times in my life where I have felt like there is no way that God has a plan for me. I have felt like He had forgotten me. There have been times that I have felt like King David composing the Psalms. “ Lord, hear my prayer; let my cry come to you. Do not hide your face from me now that I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly” (Ps. 102: 2-3). It was through prayer that I found that no matter what, God will take care of me and I learned how to trust Him and be thankful for his faithfulness to me. He keeps His promises, always.
If you are not sure how to pray or where to start I will keep this simple. After Adam and Eve sinned, their first communication with God was a question. God said to them “Where are you?” (Gen. 3:9). The issue was not that God did not know where Adam and Eve were. He knew where they were. He wanted them to realize that they were hiding and to tell Him they were hiding.
Answer the question: Where are you? Do you believe that God created you? Do you already have a relationship with Him? Do you love Him? Do you hate Him? Where is God in your life? Be honest with yourself and with God.
Invite him into your prayer. “God, I invite you into this time.” Or “Come, Holy Spirit”. Jesus is waiting for the invitation. He will show up.
Thank Him for every possible thing that you can think of. You might be surprised in how much God has already blessed you. It is the attitude of gratitude. Sin makes us focus inwardly on to our selves. Thanking God allows us to focus ourselves on the actions of God. It gets us away from the “me-centered” mentality and onto a “Christ-centered” life.
Pray for the people and situations that surround you. Christ is present to all people and in all situations. If you have encountered a person or a situation that has wounded or left you feeling bad about yourself and life, you have an opportunity to find Christ in that moment. The measure of a Saint is not so much the situations or events that make up their life but how they found Christ in and through those situations. Just like you, every person is indeed of someone praying for the victory of Christ in his or her life.
There are many different ways of praying. If you start with this you will be successful in your prayer life and on your way to sainthood.
May God be on our lips and in our hearts!