What is the significance of prayer?

 

Have you ever asked yourself why you pray? Sometimes in times of trial or laziness we avoid prayer; sometimes we get fed up with it, and other times we do not feel like praying - after all, God knows everything anyway.... What use is prayer then?

First of all, we must know that prayer is a form of relationship with God and of worship. It is an elevation of the heart, a simple look towards God. It is a cry of love - both in suffering and in prosperity. But does God, who is almighty, omniscient and omnipresent, need our prayer? The answer may surprise you, but it is: no. God does not need our prayer or our worship. But it is we who need it.
We need prayer primairly because it teaches us to love. It opens our hearts to God and His grace, and it shows us the truth about ourselves like a mirror; we face God as we are: sinful, weak, sometimes lost, yet aware of His love that surpasses all our faults and lifts us up after we have fallen. To realise this one needs a great deal of humility. As Most Reverend Venerable Fulton J. Sheen used to say: " The lover is always on his knees, the beloved must always be on a pedestal"

" The lover is always on his knees, the beloved must always be on a pedestal"
Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

Another reason why prayer is vital is that it has the power to change. It does not necessarily mean change in our life situation, general improvement or healing. But change in our hearts and minds. It can very well be, we are not ready just yet to receive a grace from God. Prayer, however, prepares us for it through the change it causes inside of us. Persistance in prayer creates a feeling of dependence on God, molds us into His servants aimed to bring His light into the world. God does not want His grace of for example healing to be an end itself but He wants through this grace do greater things for us.

We should not then see prayer as some obligation or an empty ritual we owe to the Divine. God wants us to be close to Him, searches for us like He did for Adam in the Garden, calling out: "where are you?", knowing well his recent sin. Rather, we need faith - above all, faith that I am speaking to someone who is listening, that God is present. When we pray, we need to be aware of the encounter: HE IS and I am; this is my relationship to the Creator and the Creator's relationship to me. Prayer is presence, it is a relationship: between Father and child. 


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