Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles
In the Gospel passage, we read that Jesus prayed. It seems to have been a routine thing in the life of Jesus. And whenever there came an important moment in His life and ministry, He prayed all the more. The Gospel of Luke mentions that before Jesus chose the Apostles, He prayed the whole night. Though He is God, He still prayed and stayed in communion with the Father. By doing so, He has left us an example to be imitated.
Usually there are four forms of prayer. They are Praising, Thanking, Petitions and Asking God’s Pardon. It is recommended that whenever we pray, we should make sure that all these four elements are part of our prayer. But rising above these elements, we need to recognize and realize that prayer is actually only an expression of our relationship with God. Prayer is not an end in itself. It is a means and only an expression. What matters is our relationship with God. When we love someone, we express our love through varied and different means. What matters is not what we do or say or give; what matters is the love behind what we do or say or give. Sometimes, our prayer becomes dry and burdensome because we concentrate more on saying routine prayers, rather than concentrating on our relationship with God. When I love someone, giving (time, energy, resources, etc) becomes a joyful experience.
It is possible that I say the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, etc without fail on a daily basis. But still continue to do or say things that pains my God. Here prayer is just routine, nothing much different from brushing my teeth in the morning. The relationship with God does not appear anywhere in the picture. On the other hand, when I really love my God, it becomes very difficult for me to offend Him by my sins, even if I don’t succeed in practicing my acts of piety on a daily basis.
To conclude, If Jesus prayed, it is understood that we also need to pray. And when we pray, we need pray as Jesus prayed. For Jesus, prayer was communion with the Father, not mere recitation of texts.
Today, let us pray that we may really learn to love God more and more and grow deeper in our relationship with Him as a child with its Father. May our prayers become means to achieve this end and ever remain an expression of our loving relationship with God.
Jesus Lord, help us to pray as you did. Amen.