lent: a school of prayer
"Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, likewise prayed to the Lord." —Esther C:12, our transl.
A week ago, on Ash Wednesday, the Lord through His Church commanded us to enter into a season of almsgiving, prayer, and fasting (Mt 6:2, 5, 16). Each of these penitential practices, even prayer, are difficult for us. "We do not know how to pray as we ought" so the Spirit helps us in our weakness (Rm 8:26). We sometimes pray wrongly because we pray selfishly (Jas 4:3). We definitely need Jesus to teach us to pray (Lk 11:1).
We pray well when we:
- focus on God, our Father (Mt 6:9),
- pray through Christ and in the Spirit,
- pray together to our Father (Mt 6:9) and our King (Est C:14),
- make our prayer priorities the holiness of God's name, the coming of His kingdom, and doing His will (Mt 6:9-10),
- pray as chosen people (Est C:16) and God's adopted sons and daughters,
- pray the Mass and other sacraments,
- pray in faith and forgiveness (see Mk 11:24-25),
- "present our needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions full of gratitude" (Phil 4:6),
- pray always (Lk 18:1),
- pray the first thing in the morning (Mk 1:35),
- pray with the angels and the saints, especially Mary (see Acts 1:14), and
- pray silently (see Lam 3:26).
Lent is not only a time to pray; it is also a time to learn to pray. May your prayerful Lent lead to a life of deep prayer.
Prayer: Father, teach me to pray from the Scriptures and the Catechism.
Promise: "Ask, and you will receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you." —Mt 7:7
Praise: When St. John's hospital burned, he carried out all the patients through the flames, but no one was burned (see Is 43:2).
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, August 9, 2000
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 18, 2000