In this time of Lent, one of the things that we need to do is to consider how our prayer life is. There is a distinction between saying some prayer every day and having a prayer life. The second one is the one we should work towards.
Many say a prayer sometimes, but to have a prayer life requires the intention to conquer the habit of prayer and live in some way that our day goes around our prayers. The decision we make should be to always ponder in prayer before the final resolution. Life of prayer means to be immersed in God, and from there see the world in which we live.
Each one of us have things in life that we like, we have our hobbies, our profession, the things we are good at, and the things that we are not good at even when we would like to be. Prayer is considered in a similar way, but we, who were saved by the love of God manifested in Jesus, cannot have prayer as a hobby that we take on when we are in need, or just sometimes when we feel we like it. Prayer is what makes a person as strong or not in spiritual things. If you don’t know how your spiritual life is, just ask yourself: how is my prayer? How often do I pray? How profound is my prayer? How much do I try to improve every day? The answer to this question will let you know how your spiritual life is.
To understand this better I will give you an example of things familiar to many. We all have friends who play golf, and many of us also play. But sometimes when you meet someone who is passionate for this sport, after they find out you play, many will ask you what is your handicap? If you answer that you don’t know, or you don’t have one, they immediately will know that you are not serious about golf. It is just a hobby, a thing that you like but you don’t apply yourself to. And that is fine. But when we treat our prayer in the same way, then that is not good.
Prayer and Christian life are inseparable, for they concern the same love and the same renunciation, proceeding from love; the same filial and loving conformity with the Father’s plan of love; the same transforming union in the Holy Spirit who conforms us more and more to Christ Jesus; the same love for all men, the love with which Jesus has loved us. “Whatever you ask the Father in my name, he [will] give it to you. This I command you, to love one another.”(Jn 15”16-17). He “prays without ceasing” who unites prayer to works and good works to prayer. Only in this way can we consider as realizable the principle of praying without ceasing. (Origen, De orat. PG 11,452).
Prayer is itself a gift to obtain another gift, which consists of to know, to understand, to love, to glorify God and to be united with God. And in doing so, the logical consequence is that we will be transformed. If we really apply to prayer, our lives, should be transformed according to the model we contemplate in our prayers. Silence is important in prayer, because prayer is not only to say, ask or praise God, but also to listen to him. Without silence we cannot listen and without listen prayer is just a monologue.
In this time of Lent, find the time to pause and pray, to ask and listen what the Lord wants to say to you.