February 23, 2021 – Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
Fr. Gibo Dandoy, CSsR
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/022321.cfm)
I often wonder why many Catholics, when asked to lead in prayer, during some social gatherings and family events, would often decline. Even those who are regular mass-goers would do the same. They reason out by saying: “I don’t know how to pray.” Well, the early disciples of Jesus had the same concern. That is why they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Lk. 11:1).
But what really is prayer? Is prayer simply fulfilling personal devotions and novenas? Not at all! We hear Jesus saying: “When you pray, do not use a lot of words, as the pagans did; for they believe that, the more they say, the more chance they have of being heard. Do not be like them.”
However, by saying this, Jesus did not discourage us from praying. But he was exhorting us to go beyond our usual and routinary approach to prayer.
Because prayer is more than a verbal exercise; more than litany of petitions. It is basically a relationship we have built with God, and which relationship extends to others.
And since it’s a relationship, then it consists of:
1.) Communication with God which engages us in talking and listening. Prayer is not a one-way traffic where only us who do the talking while God is listening. In prayer, we sharpen our capacity to listen to the voice of God;
2.) Recognizing and Affirming God’s presence in our lives, in season or out of season, which aids us in cultivating gratitude and cheerfulness;
3.) Humble acceptance and admission of our human frailties and sins which ushers us in repentance and renewal of our lives; and
4.) We are also afforded with time and space where we lift our burdens and petitions, believing that God is the only and ultimate source of all that is good.
Corrie Tin Boom, a Christian writer, wrote something about prayer: “The wonderful thing about praying is that you have a world of not being able to do something and enter God’s realm where everything is possible. He specializes in the impossible. Nothing is too great for his almighty power. Nothing is too small for his love.“
Brothers and sisters, as we enter and immerse ourselves in Prayer this season of lent, may we be given the grace to grow more in prayer and in the knowledge of God, so that our prayer is not borne out of obligation nor compulsion; but from a grateful heart so desirous to draw deeper into the very heart of God. Amen.