“Lord, teach us to pray.” —Luke 11:1
Is the Lord satisfied with your prayer life? Pope St. John Paul II, at the end of his first encyclical letter, maintained that our prayer must be “great, intense, and growing” (The Redeemer of Man, 22). He also emphasized that the Lord wants our prayer to be combined with fasting, for the Lord has decided at this time to make prayer and fasting the first and most effective weapons against our culture of death (The Gospel of Life, 100). According to these criteria, is your prayer life satisfactory to the Lord?
To pray as the Lord wants us to pray, we must see God as our loving Father. That is the first thing Jesus taught us about prayer (see Lk 11:2). We must be aware that our Father sees our prayer and fasting (Mt 6:6, 18). Abraham stopped short in his prayer for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to be spared destruction. Possibly, his prayer was limited because he:
- wasn’t sure whether God was just (see Gn 18:25),
- was even less sure of God’s mercy, and
· projected his own interior conflicts onto God and thereby accused God of being impatient (Gn 18:30) and angry (Gn 18:32).
We who are in Christ can and must pray always with loving, tender confidence in our Father. In that way, we will pray as we ought (Rm 8:26).