What is Prayer?


Finding time for prayer can be difficult in the midst of our busy lives. In this video, Alyssa explains to use what prayer is and how we can make our relationship with God the center of our lives.

About a year ago, I went on a retreat. During this retreat, a sister got up and gave a talk on prayer. And I hate to admit it, but as she got up to speak I was a little judgmental. I thought, what more is there to say about prayer? I’ve given talks on prayer before, and it was a very prideful thought and place to be.

About halfway through her talk she said something that still sticks with me to this day. She said, “A lot of people think that prayer is a part of our relationship with God, or like our relationship with God. They’re wrong. Prayer is our relationship with God.” If we’re not praying, we don’t have a relationship with Him. And that really struck me. I was very convicted. It made me evaluate my own prayer life, to take a look at it and say, Am I a person of prayer? If people were to take a look at my day or schedule, would they say that my relationship with God was a priority? [tweetthis]If we are not praying, then we do not have a relationship with God.[/tweetthis]

Why does it even matter? Why is prayer so important? The Catechism, which is this handy little book the Church has given us to better know the truths that we have, the things that God has entrusted to us. The first thing that it says in Part 1, in Section 1, Chapter 1 is this:

The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for. CCC 27

I think this is so beautiful because right in this paragraph, the Church is telling us the reason we exist. We’re alive to know, love, and serve God. That is the purpose and meaning of our entire beings. So if we’re not knowing Him and serving Him, our life is going to feel very empty. It’s going to lack that purpose and meaning.

The other reason I think this is very beautiful is that the Church isn’t trying to hide this truth from us, it’s the first thing they want us to know. And God is not trying to hide this from us either. This tells us that God is always drawing us near to Himself, He is constantly trying to bring us closer to Him so that He can love us more. So that he can continue to fill our lives with that meaning and purpose that we desire. [tweetthis]God is always drawing us near. He is constantly trying to bring us closer so He can love us more.[/tweetthis]

I find this really encouraging. I know that sometimes when I stop trying or sometimes when I get busy and prayer isn’t a priority, it can be really tempting to just throw in the towel and get discouraged. But this tells us that God is always inviting us back. I think of the Prodigal Son, that beautiful story that Jesus tells in the Gospel about the Son who takes all of his inheritance and runs away from home and then spends all of it, and ends up eating food with pigs and then realizes that he needs to go home to his father where he belongs, where he’ll be taken care of and where he’ll be loved. And the story tells us as the son is coming home, the father sees him from far off, and the father doesn’t pass judgement or look on him with anger. It tells us that he throws off his cloak as an old man and runs out into the road to embrace his son to kiss him, to bless him, to put a robe on him and to throw a feast for him.

Our Heavenly Father is like that with each of us,
when we turn back to Him in prayer and when we draw near to Him again.
He wants to draw us into his embrace and to give us His mercy.

Some of us may not know where to start in prayer, it might have been a long time or maybe it’s something completely new. That’s what we hope to do in this next series of our Beyond the Pew videos, is to give you tips, and pointers, and encouragement of how to start a prayer life or how to rebuild a prayer life so that you can have your life centered on God once again.

Just one little verse of encouragement for you right now, because I do encourage you, start today! Turn to God in prayer today! There’s a verse in Romans that talks about the Holy Spirit interceding for us when we don’t know what to say. He prays for us with groans too deep for words. Ask the Holy Spirit, just say “Come Holy Spirit” and pause, and let Him intercede for you, let Him give you the words to pray.

I hope that you have a great week, we hope that you join us for the rest of this video series. We’ll be praying for you as we’re diving deeper into prayer. God bless!

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