“When you pray do not babble like the pagans…” How often do we disobey these words of Jesus? How often do we recite prayers, read, or repeat memorized words without thinking what we are doing? How often is our mind somewhere else than with Him to whom we address these words? How often do we think that the more words we use, the more the Lord must hear and answer us? How often has prayer become a routine — the killer of an intimate relationship with our loving God?
Prayer is supposed to be a conversation, a dialogue with God. In a dialogue, we must give the partner time and room to respond. If the conversation becomes a monologue, it is not a conversation anymore. But I like these moments because they make me aware of how God must feel when we ignore Jesus’ words and our prayers become a monologue, a torrent of words.
Jesus taught His disciples a prayer, which we call the “Lord’s Prayer.” We know it so well, we recite it so often that while we follow the command of Jesus to use these words, and we also violate what He said before— not to “babble like the pagans.”
The best prayer, therefore, is to go to a chapel or church and spend some time alone with the Lord and talk to Him in your own words — and then listen to His answer in your heart. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD