LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY
Prayer has been defined in many ways. Some of these include:
- An invocation or act that seeks a higher rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication.
- Intercession directed towards a deity or a deified ancestor.
- Can take on various forms; in liturgy or worship, music or the arts, etc
- Can be done individually or in groups.
- Is attested in written sources as early as 5000 years ago.
- Most major religions involve prayer in one way or another.
Everyone prays in different ways at different times depending on our state in life or circumstances we find ourselves in. In our scriptures today, we hear Jesus telling his disciples how he prayers to his Father. For many of us our earliest experiences of prayer happening in a familial setting. In my family, my siblings and I learned familiar prayers from our parents at a young age. I remember saying the Angel of God prayer before bedtime, the meal prayer as we gathered to enjoy our family meals and the Rosary at other times.
As we grow in faith and maturity, our prayer experiences look and feel differently than they might have when we were younger. Recently my friends and I took part in a prayer vigil focused on ending the dehumanization taking place in the detention camps at our border. A few days later, several of us from our parish were privileged to attend the naturalization ceremony for members of one of our refugee families. During this ceremony, we celebrated and gave thanks to God for the gifts of freedom and security they now have found in this gift of citizenship!
Last Sunday we gathered with one of our couples who will soon welcome twins to pray the blessing from the Rite of Blessing the Child within the Womb. Members of our pastoral team often celebrate this rite within the context of a home visit during the pregnancy.
The scriptures are filled with accounts of Jesus praying by himself or with others. This happens when he is visiting the sick, burying the dead, forgiving sinners and rejoicing in new life. These are all ways in which he stays connected to his father. He calls each of us to do the same. Whatever form your prayer takes, as long as it is life-giving and sustains your God-relationship, keep on doing it! Amen!
Theresa Secord is a Pastoral Associate at St. Agnes Parish, Louisville, Kentucky.