PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
Man is in search of God. All Religions bear witness to men's essential search for God. Man can forget God or hide far from his face. He may run after idols such as money, pleasures, power etc;the living God tirelessly call each person to that encounter known as prayer. In prayer, God's initiative of love always comes first;our own first step is always a response. Prayer appears as a reciprocal call. Man is in search of God, his Creator;but it is God, the Creator, who calls man first.
Jesus teaches us to pray with lively and persevering faith. "I say to you: ask and you will receive;seek, and you will find;knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks will receive, and he who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to him who knocks"(Luke 11, 9-11)
Prayer is primarily addressed to the Father. Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of his disciples said to Him "Lord, teach us to pray"(Luke11, 1). In response to this request, Jesus entrusts them with the fundamental prayer, the"Lord's Prayer". This Prayer is thruly the summery of the whole gospel, the most perfect of prayers. It is at the center of the Scriptures. It is called "the Lord's Prayer"because it comes to us from the Lord Jesus, the master and model of our prayer. This prayer teaches us not only to ask for things, but also in what order we should desire them.
The prayer can also be directed towards Jesus, particularly by invocation of his holy Name:"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners".
The Church invites us to invoke the Holy Spirit as the interior Teacher of Christian Prayer. "Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love". "Consoler Spirit, Spirit of Truth. come dwell in us, cleanse and save us, you who are All-Good".
Because of Mary's singular cooperation with the action of the Holy Spirit, the Church loves to pray in communion with the Virgin Mary to entrust supplications and praises to Her. "Pray for us, sinners, now and at the hour of our death". May She welcome us as our Mother at the hour of our passing to lead us to her Son, Jesu, in paradise.
The Christian family is the first place of education in prayer. The family is the "domestic church"where God's children learn to pray. Morning and evening prayer, grace before and after meals. Daily family prayer is the first witness of God's presence in the Christian families.
Fr. Cipriano Bontacchio