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Father Muench Says...

‘Let’s talk about prayer’

Sept. 15, 2021

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Recently, the Gospel reading for a daily Mass described Jesus going up a mountain to pray. This reading then goes on to tell us that “he spent the night in prayer.”

There are several places in the Gospels where we learn that Jesus took time to pray. I suspect that some are surprised that Jesus prays. Why would the Lord of all take some time to pray? I believe that Jesus prayed for the very same reasons that you and I pray.

So, let’s talk about prayer. Each time we stop being busy and take time to pray, it is because we remember how much God loves us. We believe that God loves us first. In faith we know that God knows us and is always ready to support us. God loves us unconditionally. We are a loved people. I must respond in love and in prayer to the God, who cares so much about me. I am such a uniquely blessed person. God loves me.

Each time I pray to the God who loves me, I must pray in gratitude. I cannot thank God enough for all that he constantly does for me. I am grateful that Jesus came to my world, lived with us, died for us and rose from the dead. I must pray. I must demonstrate my gratitude to my God and Savior. I pray so that Jesus will continue to walk with me. For this I am grateful every day.

I know that each time I pray, I have a new opportunity to strengthen my relationship with my Lord and Savior. I need to pray so I will draw closer to my friend, Jesus. In the Gospels, Jesus tells his apostles and us that he wants to be our friend. This friendship changes our whole relationship with the Lord. There is a great deal of happiness in knowing that Jesus wants to be our friend. And our friendship grows each time we pray.
Part of our prayer must be a moment to call to mind our cares and concerns, our hopes and our dreams. In this way, we can personally recognize what is important for us at this time. I believe that prayer is an opportunity for me to bring into my heart my loved ones who truly need me. This is a powerfully important part of my prayer time.

I want to mention another important part of a time of prayer. That is to take some time to “rest in the Lord.” This may be the most meaningful gift of being in prayer. I believe the Lord wants some special time with us. The Lord simply wants to hold us for a time. This is the time when we truly recognize God’s love and forgiveness for us. The presence of the Lord is very evident to us when we are in prayer.

I want to share with you something I recently learned from a Buddhist who I know knows so much about prayer. He writes that some people say, “Don’t just sit there – do something.” However, he says that many wisely also say, “Don’t just do something – sit there.” He goes on to teach us that stopping and being still in prayer can bring a whole new dimension of being. We can transfer our anger and anxiety, and cultivate our energy of peace, understanding compassion as the basis for action. This time of prayer helps so we can live a life of action in a relaxed and joyful way – free from fear, stress and despair.

And finally remember to listen, for the Lord does answer our prayers.

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