LET’S LEARN ABOUT PRAYER
by Aubry Rose
Well, I spilled the beans yesterday. I told all of the internet my well-kept secret – I have a smoking hot boo thang. Not to mention he’s one holy roller for Jesus.
I feel like sharing some beautiful tidbits about prayer that I’m currently reading in one of Pope Benedict XVI’s sassy little books, Jesus of Nazareth, finding this topic to be fitting after yesterday’s post on my answered prayer by the one and only Lady Guadalupe.
(Also, can I just say — Pope Benedict is one of the most brilliant thinkers of our time. I am not talking solely in terms of Catholic scholars, by the way. I am talking in general. If you think you can quote Nietzsche or talk about lofty ‘-isms’ and sound really intelligent and spit mad game in the intellectual department, you will be completely smushed like an ant by the former Cardinal Ratzinger. But don’t worry – he will be gentle and humble while he does it, which is what happens when knowledge-seeking is a pursuit of the truth, something rightly ordered and pointed beyond ourselves, rather than seeking knowledge for the pure sake of knowing, which is typically pointed straight to… ourselves. Self-centered universe at its finest. If that makes sense.)
PB the 16th never wanted to be Pope, I should add. His life’s desire was to hide away in a little corner at a desk and pen his thoughts onto a piece of paper. He also is no less holy or unconditionally loving than Pope Francis, I should also add. He has a completely different charisma, one perhaps of a philosopher, which comes off much different than one of a life-of-the-party, wouldn’t you agree? Point being: I love both Papas very much.
In a chapter of Jesus of Nazareth, PB the 16th writes about a prayer given to us in Scripture by Jesus — one known as the ‘Our Father,’ that many are familiar with. It goes like this:
Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
But this is beside the point. Kind of. Well maybe not, but the point I do want to make related to this prayer, besides the point of the incredible-ness of this prayer, is the incredible, beautiful, profound reason that prayer exists, and what answered prayers really are all about.
Prayer doesn’t exist for the sole reason of turning to God when we need him. You know the feeling. Things aren’t maybe going so well, so you finally throw a quick one up to God begging him to do this or that for you, and make things seemingly right again. Well, sure, one can certainly use prayer for needs, and well, ya gotta start somewhere.
BUT. That is not why prayer exists. Prayer exists, as PB16 hashes out in his book, to come to know God. I mean seriously peoples, who wouldn’t want to come to know God! That is truly our deepest desire, whether or not we realize it. To enter into communion with our Heavenly Father. And prayer is our gift from God. It is a channel through which one comes to discover who God is. And, quite frankly, we wouldn’t know how to pray without his explicit direction found in Scripture.
Just look in the Old Testament. The Israelites only knew how to worship God and offer sacrifices to him for their needs because he straight up instructed them on how to do it. An example. And in the New Testament, Jesus’s disciples straight up asked him how to pray. Thus leading Jesus to gift us with the ‘Our Father.’ Which by the way is incredible to think about, because it gives us a glimpse into the most intimate workings of Jesus’s heart – how he prays. And I personally love listening to someone pray, because it really is a glimpse into the deepest inner workings of their heart. So to get a glimpse of Jesus’s heart?! I mean roll me over & declare me dead because that just kills me from awesomeness.
Okay. So this leads me to my main point. (Finally! I’m thinking that right along with you. I did not mean to write such a lengthy novel.)
IT’S AMAZING TO THINK ABOUT ANSWERED PRAYERS. Why? Because answered prayers are prayers that God knew would ultimately bring us closer to him, coming to know him more, growing in friendship, and love for him.
So you don’t get that job you wanted so desperately. So you have to move to a city you don’t want to live in. So you don’t get that pony you were dreaming of. So you do get set up on a blind date and find the man of your dreams ;). So you do get pregnant after years of seemingly unanswered prayers.
Well, I can assure you peoples, God hears your prayers. Every one of them. But he knows, in his infinite wisdom, what will bring you closer to him, or farther from him. It’s a mystery, I know. I certainly can’t comprehend it. But what I do know is that when prayers are answered, it’s because God is giving us a gift, helping us to come to know him more. Allowing certain things to happen or take place in order to bring you into fuller communion with him. Which is not always comfortable or exciting. In fact, sometimes it can be downright painful, for sometimes unanswered prayers are actually what brings us humbly back time and time again, on our knees, before the Lord.
So anyways, what I wanted to say was: AREN’T ANSWERED PRAYERS AMAZING?!