If there’s a skill which is fundamentally indispensable in life, it is the art of praying. When we really manage to pray, we would truly be in touch and in union with God.
And in that state, even while we are still here on earth, we would already have a foretaste of our definitive state of life. That is when, as described in the Book of the Apocalypse, “He (God) will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away.” (21,4)
Praying is our way of uniting ourselves with God, our Creator and Father, with whom we are supposed to be always with, since our life, as an image and likeness of God, is meant to be a shared life with God.
Praying is to our spiritual life what breathing and the beating of the heart are to our biological life. That is why St. Paul clearly said, “Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thes 5,17-18)
When we manage to truly pray, we can also manage to protect ourselves from all kinds of evil, and to heal whatever wounds and weaknesses we may have because of our sins. A sense of holy invulnerability can come to us. We can find peace and joy in spite of the drama of our life.
That’s because when we pray, we unite ourselves with Christ, and with him no evil can affect us badly. We may not be spared from suffering, but we would know how to convert that suffering into a means of our purification and eventual salvation. With him, everything will work out for the good. (cfr. Rom 8,28)
It is when we manage to truly pray that we comply with what St. Paul said about putting on the armor of God. It might be good to remit here his very words: “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms….” (Eph 6,11-12)
We really have to learn how to pray, and I mean, real prayer, not just an appearance of prayer, which happens to be common these days. Perhaps the reason why our prayer does not seem to have the response we want is because our prayer is not really prayer.
When we truly pray, we would really get in touch with God. We would know how to deal with him. We would know what he is showing us and how he is intervening in our life. Our life would go in synch with God’s providence, with his will and his ways.
It’s always worthwhile to spend time and effort to learn how to truly pray. Especially these days when we are dragged by a strong current of activism and secularization, we need to really force ourselves to learn this indispensable skill.
We just cannot resort to prayer during special occasions when we are faced with some difficulty. Prayer is not meant to be the remedy of last resort. It is what we have to do always, both in good times and bad.
At the beginning of the learning process, things might be a bit difficult. We might feel awkward. That is to be expected, but we just have to go on, sometimes forcing ourselves a little, making many acts of faith, hope and charity, until we can overcome that learning curve and start to fly like a professional in our prayer.
To be truly human and Christian, we need to pray. Otherwise, we may just look like a human being but in reality are not. Humanity and Christianity are not a matter of biology. They are a matter of being intimately united with God!