Prayer,is a frequent topic of Lenten Sermons; the Peace Weekly reports on the talk given by a Benedictine priest at the Cathedral Parish in Seoul. He begins with the definition of prayer as the soul to soul talk with God, briefly describing what is central to our religious life.
This was the thinking of Clement of
Alexandria (150-215) and Evagrius of Pontus (345-399). Prayer is dialogue
with God. What can be said about the subject is plentiful. God transcends us but also has 'personality'. Our prayer is from one
person to another. Christians believe they can relate with God.
We need to understand, he says what we
mean by dialogue. It is not a simple give and take of words but the
receiving and giving. Receiving the word is to hear the word
attentively; giving is to respond. With this understanding we have
hearing and responding. Since we have difficulty hearing what another
says there is a problem with our response. Our prayer with God also has
this pitfall. We need to hear what he says, and live it in our
Steps for prayer: with the body-- vocal
prayer, with our head-- meditation, and with our spirit--
contemplation. We do not know God with our mental faculties, but with
our whole being-- the inner recesses of our being. We have to go from the
head to the inner most parts of our being. At Baptism we received this
Gift from God, his Spirit.
Prayer should be
short and simple. In the Gospels the tax collector and the prodigal son were reconciled with God with few words. Prayer is not a transaction
with God but done with a pure heart not to receive something but to turn everything over to the providence of God, and desire all that he
wants for us. This is the way the Blessed Mother prayed: "may it
happen to me as you have said." Jesus in the Our Father taught us to
pray: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." We pray not to
have our way, but by the help of the Holy Spirit to become the tool that
will accomplish his will by emptying ourselves.
Our attitude in prayer
should be one of humility. We are to lose ourselves in God. In
searching for God we are to forget our self-- the attitude of the
tax collector in the Gospel. We need the attitude of gratitude.
The highest point of our prayer should be as in the Mass where we thank
God for all he has done for us.
Prayer continually draws us to a oneness with God, which requires sorrow for our failures; the key that
liberates us from the illusions of our spirituality.