I love our 2nd reading today. St. Paul said, “The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.” I know my prayer is not perfect. I can easily lose focus or let my prayer become an endless string of wandering thoughts. But, St. Paul is saying that’s OK because God already knows what is weighing on my heart. And with the help of the Holy Spirit, I can articulate that heaviness to God.
Our prayer doesn’t have to be a meticulous articulation of words. But, it does have to be undertaken with a humble spirit and complete trust and faith in God. Just like we are different people, we are each somewhat unique in how we like to pray. But, no matter how we pray, we must remember that prayer is about deepening our relationship with God. So, we don’t pray to present God with our grievances. We pray to remind ourselves that God is with us no matter what we are facing in life. We pray to express our sorrow. We pray in thanksgiving and to honor Him. We pray to do our best and exalt God in everything we do. We pray for strength and courage, and yes, we even pray for miracles. But most of all, we pray to be ever mindful of God’s presence and keep our focus on doing His will.
Whenever you have trouble praying, remember that St. Ignatius said praying is like talking to Jesus as a friend. He says to just “Ask forgiveness. Ask for protection and help. Ask for wisdom about the problems you face. Do all this in the spirit of gratitude to receive the grace of peace in your heart that comes through prayer.” Prayer is God’s gift of grace to us.
As we go through this week, may we pray not just for ourselves, but for each other and our country. May we remember to pray for those who are hurting and oppressed so they, too, feel the love of Jesus. May we pray for His divine love and compassion so we can respond, as Jesus did, to our sisters and brothers in need.