New York, St. Margaret, 29th July 2007
I’d like to say just three words about prayer, it means about me, sincerity and patience.
1. The first: about me.
The disciple of Jesus didn’t ask: “Lord, teach the Pharisees to pray because they are bad people” or “Lord, teach pagans to pray because they don’t pray properly”. The disciple of Jesus asked: “Lord, teach us to pray”.
The same with Abraham. He didn’t say: “It’s not my business to pray for the people of Sodoma” or “I’m not interesting in any intercession for the people of Gomorrah”. Not at all. His prayer is a beautiful example to be persistent in front of God.
What does mean for us? What does mean for me?
I can’t say: "You must pray".
You can’t say: "The prayer is a duty for priests and nouns".
We can’t complain: “Why don’t people pray?” Why my children don’t go to the church?” “Why the majority is not interesting in the matter of the faith?”.
We must understand that prayer is first of all our business. If I pray better you will pray better, If I am holier, you will be holier, If I celebrate the mass better, you will participate in it better; If I am closer to God, people will be closer to God.
I have to start from me so I ask with the disciples:“Lord, teach us to pray”.
2. The second: about sincerity.
When you pray, what do you say?
Are you sincere with God?
It’s amazing to see how the people used to pray sometimes in the Bible.
We read in the Book of Psalms:
I say to God, "My rock, why do you forget me?
Awake! Why do you sleep, O Lord? Rise up! Do not reject us forever!
Why do you hide your face; why forget our pain and misery?
Why, God, have you cast us off forever?
Why, LORD, do you stand at a distance and pay no heed to these troubled times?
How long, LORD? Will you utterly forget me? How long will you hide your face from me?
It was the Bible.
What do we say when we pray?
Do we tell about all our feelings?
3. The last word: about patience.
Jesus said: “Ask and you shall receive”.
I have asked God for one grace since 1986. Over 20 years. Almost every day. I have been asking and I didn’t receive. Not yet...
“Ask and you shall receive”. Does Jesus tell the truth? Yes. I’m sure. He does.
But Jesus said nothing about “how long” should I ask, seek and knock. Jesus said: You shall receive, you shall find, the door shall be opened.
Don’t be discouraged! Don’t take a dislike! God knows the time and the place.
Instead of complaining about money, job, kids, neighbours, strangers, politics, husband or mother-in-law etc., start today to pray for it, al least 20 years, al least once a day.
Who knows? Maybe it is what Jesus is asking today from you... and first of all from me...