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Do you pray? How often? What do you ask God? Do you believe that prayer helps? Or do you doubt its efficacy? Do you get disappointed when your prayer is left unanswered?

True prayer means that we acknowledge our dependence on the Lord, we trustingly put ourselves in His hands, and we let Him enter deep into our life. Prayer – if it is authentic – presupposes the desire to obey God’s commandments, the willingness to change, the effort to become a better person, the resolution to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.

God’s love is unconditional. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but we should at least desire to pray in earnest. The Lord wants only the best for us.

Sometimes though we ask for the wrong things because we don’t really know what’s good for us, we confuse what’s beneficial with what’s harmful, for we don’t see the bigger picture, our logic is not God’s logic, and often we’re just using Jesus as an instrument to obtain our whims and caprice.

Our prayer does not bear fruits perhaps because we hold on to certain attachments, bad habits, or due to pride, sensuality, worldliness, inconstancy and lack of faith. Prayer becomes monologue, introspection, self-assessment, rest, recreation or anything except dialogue with God.

Then there’s distraction, lack of focus, dryness and difficulty of putting ourselves in God’s presence. Have you experienced trying to force yourself to sleep and yet your eyes remain wide open? Stop trying, just relax and soon you’ll be in deep slumber. Likewise, we need not worry about how good and perfect is our prayer. Just be spontaneous and let the heart speak.

We must examine our true motives when we pray and strive to purify our heart and mind. Approach God with humility and trusting confidence. Let us pray with faith and persevere in our prayer. The Lord knows what we need even before we can say a word. Just the same, tell Him what causes you to lose sleep, tell Him about your plans and your fears, your heartaches and dreams, your troubles and quest for inner peace.

Ask for the strength you need, beg for God’s mercy and thank Him for the countless graces He pours out on you. Open your heart and unburden your soul. Even if you feel guilty or unworthy, you’re important to Christ. He loves you more than you could ever imagine. Remember that He died for you, and He would willingly do it again if necessary.

To pray is to enter in a loving relationship with God. At times, we don’t know what to say and we feel dry. Don’t worry, a simple gaze at a crucifix or a silent act of contrition can be true prayer. Even when you’re doing house chores, resting in bed, working in the office, or strolling down the streets – you can be immersed in God. What the Lord seeks is the sincerity of our heart, not the eloquence of words. “For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Rom 8:26)

Trusting. Humble. Confident. Constant. Believe in the power of prayer for so Jesus told us: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Mt 7:7)

By: Fr. Henry Bocala

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