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Lord, teach us to pray

During Bishop Christian’s knee replacement recuperation, we’ll be using the J.S. Paluch Company bulletin resources and the “Living the Word” scripture reflections for our weekly reflections.

Where do you focus your prayer? On God, self, others, or a combination of these? At times I only pray for what I need. I become self-centered in prayer, almost to the exclusion of God’s kingdom. At times I pray for what I hear people say they need or the world needs. My prayer is other-centered. At times I ask God to help me seek God’s will. My prayer is God-centered. Most often my prayer reflects a combination of these elements.

Abraham’s prayer is God-centered, even if he only seems to barter for what he wants. Abraham reminds God who God is: “Far be it from you…to make the innocent die with the guilty” (Genesis 18:25a). And Abraham is persistent, like the friend in the Gospel. The friend asks for his needs and for his guest. By asking, the friend is also God-centered. Jesus offers a model for prayer that focuses on all three elements. We focus on God when we hallow God and pray for God’s kingdom to come. We focus on self when we ask for daily bread, forgiveness, and freedom from the final test. We focus on others when we pray to “forgive everyone in debt to us,” (Luke 11:4). When our primary focus is on God and living in right relationship with God, we will be given the Holy Spirit, who dwells in all and takes us out of ourselves in prayer.

St. Francis de Sales says that we talk to God and God speaks to us in prayer. Our focus is always on God when we bring all of life before God and listen for God’s voice in every situation. Talk to God with Abraham’s persistence. Pray to God as Jesus taught. Live God’s will with St. Paul’s confidence.

Thanks to Laurie Brink, O.P. and Paul H. Colloton, O.S.F.S. (“Living the Word”)


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