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The many benefits of prayer

August 2, 2021

“After he dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.” (Mt 14,23)

Let’s take note of how Christ himself always gave priority to prayer, despite the hectic schedule he had to follow during his preaching trips. He found not only time for it, but also the appropriate place for it. In spite of being God himself who became man, Christ always felt the need to pray and did his best to meet the relevant requirements for prayer.

He is actually showing us how to carry out a very important duty that is incumbent on all of us if we want to keep our humanity intact, let alone, our Christianity. It is the duty to pray always because that is our fundamental way of being in touch with God, our Creator and Father. We need to be always with God. We will only have trouble when we lose touch with him.

God, being our Creator, is not only the giver of our existence but also the keeper or maintainer of it. As such, he is always with us, trying to shape us the way he wants us to be, that is, to be his image and likeness, children of his, sharers of his divine life.

But he does this, respecting always our freedom, precisely because being like him, we have to freely correspond to God’s will for us. This is a fundamental truth about ourselves that we should never forget. In fact, we should try our best to faithfully, consistently and generously act on it.

And that correspondence to God’s will for us is basically done through prayer. We have to understand that prayer is our first way to connect ourselves with God. It is so basic that we have to learn to turn everything in our life, from our thoughts and intentions to our words and deeds, into some form of prayer. That’s how important prayer is!

When we pray, we start to share what God has with us—his knowledge, his wisdom, his power, etc. We get to see and understand things the way God sees and understands them. When we pray, we get to see his will and ways, and learn how to follow them. When we pray, we can manage to handle any kind of situations and predicaments, challenges, trials, difficulties, etc., properly.

When we pray, we would be more able to love everyone, including our so-called enemies, just as God himself, as shown in Christ, loves everyone. We would learn how to be patient and merciful, how to be “all things to all men,” how to be both strong and tough, on the one hand, and also gentle and tender, on the other hand.

And if God would grant us the honor and the privilege, we can be empowered to do some extraordinary things like performing some miracles and receiving some special charisms that would redound to the good of everyone. Prayer makes our faith active, our hope alive and our charity burning.

Of course, we also have to understand that prayer can lend itself to many different ways. There’s vocal prayer, mental prayer, contemplative prayer, liturgical prayer, etc. It can adapt itself to different situations and conditions.

The absolutely important thing that makes prayer real prayer is when we manage to give all our mind and heart to God in whatever thing we do or in whatever situation we may find ourselves in. It need not be expressed in words or deeds. It should start and end with our desire to be with God!