So Hows’ YOUR Prayer Life?

I’m Catholic

So How’s Your Prayer-Life?
By Pat Miron

Just how important is prayer anyway?
Let’s take a look at what Jesus Himself demonstrated for us.

Matthew 3: 13-17 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” .. Matthew 4: 1-11 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. … And he fasted forty days and forty nights, [implied here is constant prayer and communion with ‘The Father”] and afterward he was hungry. … And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, `Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, `He will give his angels charge of you,’ and `On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, `You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Begone, Satan! for it is written, `You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him….

Notice that Jesus is baptized in His human nature before He is directed into the desert to do spiritual warfare with Satan.. The significance here is GRACE and it’s importance in the war against Satan. And make no mistake; it is a WAR! Even in His perfected human nature, Jesus found it prudent [doing the RIGHT thing at the RIGHT time] to be “filled” with the grace of the Holy Spirit from Baptism and then STILL fasted and prayed for “forty days” before His very human temptations. A second important thing to be aware of is how crafty Satan is. Notice he waits for the weakest moment when Jesus is h=destracted by hunger BEFORE HE STRIKES, be fore he makes his assault. Like our Guardian Angel and the Holy Spirit; Satan too is EVER-Preset, just waiting for the opportune time when for what ever reason our WILL is weakened and our guard is down. Expect this kind of attack and you will not be surprised. Develop a consistent and disciplined prayer life and you’ll ALWAYS be ready to defend yourself against Satan and His lies.

The temptation of “bread” represents all of humanities hungers and “drives“… sex, power, avarice, greed, gluttony, envy and sloth. Each of these depicts a human frailty, and thus a window of opportunity for Satan to temp us. Satan WILL SEEK TO FIND the one most likely to cause us to sin!

The second temptation aims to show us our equality, perhaps even thoughts of superiority over God. Why else would one attempt to force God to act? Pride is the most used tool of Satan. It is how Satan felt that he could better God and Failed; it is what He used to tempt successfully BOTH Adam and Eve, and it is the “justification” for every man -originated religion in the entire world. “I Do know MORE; I Do know Better than….”

The third temptation teaches us the cunningness and boldness of Satan’s lies. Here Satan offers God what is not even His to give. Satan has no morals, no values, no ethics, no scruples; NONE! Thus the only boundaries are those set on our behalf by God. Satan cannot ever override our FREEWILL. We MUST choose [perhaps not even freely, in the sense of being unprovoked] to cooperate with what the Father of lies offers us.

Prayer is the antidote that God makes available to us. It is the shield he gives to us. Prayer leads to GRACE, and grace to defeat for Satan. In this sense of understanding; the Sacraments become a POWERFUL form of prayer.

Did Jesus HAVE TO PRAY? No, even in His human nature, Jesus was Perfect. So why then did Jesus pray? Because Jesus knew that the “only book many will read” is our example. And Jesus taught both by what he SAID and by what he did. And So should we.

Jesus Himself taught by personal example that prayer is FAR more a necessity than a luxury. Luke.18:And he told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

Matt.6: 5-6 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Matt.14: And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, Matt.19: Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. Mark.1: And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. Mark.6: And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. Mark.9: And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” Luke.3: Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, Luke.5: But he withdrew to the wilderness and prayed. Luke.6: In these days he went out to the mountain to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God. Luke.9: Now it happened that as he was praying alone the disciples were with him; and he asked them, “Who do the people say that I am?” Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. Luke.11: He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” Luke.21: But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man.” Luke.22: I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.” And when he came to the place he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” John.14:And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, John.17:I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine;

When faced with a trial, when bearing your cross, when there is a special need, a special want, when your hurting or ill, and even when your joyful: PRAY!

When Christ was facing the reality of His passion; His Cross He prayed so earnestly that He shed Blood like sweat…. Matt.26: 36- 44 “Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsem’ane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go yonder and pray.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” {In these words Friends is the KEY to successful prayer} Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done.” So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. “

The Key to a successful prayer life is discipline. How often, and with what regularity we are praying is FAR more important in the beginning than what we pray, or even how we pray. TEACH yourself to Pray at a minimum THREE times a day. ASK the Holy Spirit and our Blessed Mother to assist you in this endeavor. At a minimum pray: 1. Upon arising from sleep 2. Around lunch time and 3. Before going to bed. This is the minimum any of us should be praying with regularity and consistency.

Once this is developed into a GOOD habit; then concern yourself with what and how you are praying.

There has never been a SAINT who did not pray, and pray often. Please KNOW that we are engaged in a WAR for our souls. If you want to win; if you want to attain Salvation; then friend PRAY! And pray often!

You ALL continue in MY daily prayers,
God Bless you, Pat


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