As Christians, we all know the reasons why we should pray. To list a few - to fulfill our obligation to God under the virtue of justice and religion, to adore Him, to petition Him, to thank Him, to praise Him, to ask for His help in doing His will.
These are all excellent reasons. At the same time, we know that a lot of Christians don’t pray regularly. Somehow, these reasons are not motivating us sufficiently.
Let me propose an additional reason why we should strive not just to pray, but to cultivate a life of prayer.
A life of prayer would not just include a few prayers here and there, but a consistent daily offering of a morning, mid-day, and evening prayer, including perhaps the Holy Rosary or Sacred Heart prayer, and reaching out to Him for help and in gratitude throughout the day. The specifics of the vocal and mental prayers are less important than a general attitude of involving Him each day in our works, our joys, and our sufferings.
This sounds like a lot and it is a lot. Initially, we are looking to dispose ourselves to prayer, to make whatever efforts we can each day. The Holy Spirit, in a mysterious and unique way and in a special timeframe for each of us, usually provides us the grace needed to continue, expand, and persevere in prayer.
What is this additional reason? What is this compelling reason to start a life of prayer?
I would offer that it’s to experience “wonder”. Wonder will allow you to be refreshed by His love. To recognize in a deep, abiding way that He sees you, knows you, reassures and comforts you, cherishes you, delights in you, and rejoices in you and that He always wills what is best for you.
Simply put, prayer itself and the responses from God in prayer are like nothing this beautiful world has to offer. We just don’t really have wonder in our world today anymore. Also, this will help you bear your crosses more generously and out of love for Him. The world can be a cruel place. Without turning to Him, the peace that defies all understanding will not be unlocked. You will be left fending for worldly distractions and pleasures which, ultimately, will prove fleeting and empty.
It’s important to realize that with prayer you are truly communicating with the Divine. And not in an impersonal way. The Almighty Father, Our Lord, The Holy Spirit .. the three persons of the Trinity .. you are communicating with persons, almost as if you were communicating with your friend or relative.
For example, if you reach out to the Father in prayer, you will sense His fatherly presence. Now, it’s unlikely that a few short prayers here and there will allow you to connect deeply (however He does hear all of our prayers), but the more your heart, mind, and soul reaches out, the more you turn to Him for help and in gratitude, the more you will sense His love and His guiding presence.
The same with Our Lord, Our Savior, Our King. Or you might go to Him as Our Brother, Our Friend, Our Shepherd. Then of course there is Our Lady and the many Saints.
What I am suggesting here is that as you cultivate a life of prayer, that you reach out in a very personal way. According to St. Therese de Lisieux, this is best done with an inner attitude of humility, (child-like) trust, living in the present moment, love, and gratitude.
A bit more on this aspect of “wonder”. If you take up a life of prayer, you are likely to receive consolations from the Father which will encourage you. What are consolations? Well, they are different for everyone. It might be a sense of His love, something that you will know did not come from this world, but from Him; or a touch of light or wisdom at an opportune time (perhaps not even during prayer) that you know came from Him, a bird flying above you at a certain time in prayer, a person you meet in such a way that you immediately know He arranged the meeting, etc.
This is the beautiful, exciting part. God is creative, loving, comforting, His capacity to love you and surprise you with His love and His gentle guiding hand is endless. He is there when you are suffering, consoling you and strengthening you in subtle ways. His ways are inscrutable, unknowable, and defy our understanding, however, my personal experience is that, at the same time, He appears to want us to occasionally know it was Him that was behind something. Why would he stoop so low, you might say? The God of the Universe cares about me in this very customized way? Impossible!
Not so impossible, in this writer’s humble opinion. There is one way you can find out for yourself. Start a life of prayer! The Father meets His children in prayer. That is where you can meet Him and experience the wonder and the peace that is not of this world.
David grew up in Germany and currently lives in northern California. He is married to Maya and enjoys spending time with their blended family. David works in banking and helps with RCIA in his local parish. He enjoys tennis, reading, and religious and creative writing. In 2020, he self-published a short suspense novel, “Point of Convergence”, and in 2021 a collection of personal writings titled “Turning Back”. He also writes a religious column for St. Peter’s Church that is published in the Dixon Tribune.