How do you pray. . . and to whom? Is your prayer calm and focused or is it somewhat anxious? Is it heart to heart, with effort to listen to God, or is it a constant pouring out of needs and complaints, hopes and fears? Maybe these questions sound simplistic, but think for a minute how you really do pray.
God always receives us just as we are. But it is good for us to realize that our prayer is greatly influenced by the images we hold of God. If God is viewed as a powerful miracle worker, then we might be asking for superhero interventions in life. If we see God as judge, then perhaps we feel the need to explain all our sins and weaknesses. God imaged as Father or Mother could be seen as having qualities, good or not so good, of our own parents.
Lent is a good time to reflect on these images of God and how they influence our prayer. Then let Jesus calmly, once again, teach us how to really pray. “In praying,” he says, “do not babble like the pagans.” God already “knows what you need before you ask.” Instead, pray this way: “Our Father in heaven, may your kingdom come, may your will be done. . .Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors. . . .” Jesus shows us a God who does not need our useless babble, but who desires only our humble trust. To read more about prayer, click here.