builds up in us
If we understand that our creation is still a work in progress, that our life here on earth is a life with God in Christ through the Holy Spirit who is still shaping and directing it until we become his image and likeness, and children of his in Christ, then we will realize how important and indispensable it is to pray.
Prayer is our basic correspondence to God's continuing work of creation and redemption in us. We need it much more than we need air or food. Thus, we need to do our part in learning it and in doing it all our life.
In other words, with prayer we do our part in building up in ourselves the image of God who is fully revealed, given and shared with us in Christ through the Holy Spirit. Christ is the pattern of our humanity and the redeemer of our damaged humanity. We are supposed to be “alter Christus,” another Christ.
This should not be breaking news anymore. In fact, one way or another we actually do some form of prayer, because even if we are not talking with God, we would still be conversing with someone, usually with our own selves or with some other entity. Prayer is actually unavoidable in our life. It is part of our nature.
But we need to pray properly. We need to talk with God, and not just with ourselves or anybody else. God is our Creator and Savior, our source and end and, of course, in-between. In other words, God is everything to us.
Of course, we have to exert due effort to learn how to pray, just like anything else in our life. But once learned, then we can launch ourselves in a divine adventure that is initiated by God himself and will be completed and perfected by him.
We have to continually ask ourselves, especially at the end of the day when we do some examination of conscience, whether we manage to pray properly, whether we can say that there is some progress in ourselves becoming more and more like Christ, etc.
In the end, that is the purpose of prayer. We just do not solve or resolve some human problems and worldly issues when we pray, although these too can be taken up in our prayer. We have to see to it that we are becoming more and more like Christ through these problems, issues and whatever circumstances and situations we can have in this life.
In fact, any moment can and should be a moment of prayer, since we can and should always relate everything to Christ. But we certainly would need some special moments of greater intimacy with him by spending time in mental prayer, meditation and contemplation.
Such exercise should put us in closer contact with God, and should be the opportunity where we can see things better, discern more closely God's will and ways for us, and get energized to do a lot of good in spite of difficulties. We get a better view of the entire reality of our life, and can somehow find meaning for any happening in our life.
If at the end of a mental prayer, for example, we feel tired and bored, it would be a clear sign that we have not done our prayer well, or that it was not prayer we were doing.
The ultimate proof of a good prayer is when we build up the conviction that we are becoming more and more like Christ, that our mind and heart are in communion with Christ. We reflect the power of Christ.*
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