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What is the Point of Prayer?

I don’t think many people would argue with the statement that prayer is important.  Well, actually they might without meaning to.  By this I simply acknowledge the fact that not everybody prays.  Maybe they mean to but it isn’t the most important thing to them and so they let all their time be taken up by other things.

I’ve entitled this post “What is the Point of Prayer?” but I do not intend to present an argument for the importance of prayer.  I don’t intend to teach you about different forms of prayer.  If that is what you are looking for you might start by reading “Prayer and Devotions” on my website.  Or you might choose to read my previous blog posts on prayer.

Today I want to write about what my goal in praying is.  To put it simply, I pray to know God.

I hope you noticed that I didn’t say pray to know God’s will.  I didn’t say I pray to God to ask for strength.  I want to be honest so I have to say that at times I pray hoping God will tell me what to do.  At times, when I don’t think I can accomplish what I am supposed to, I pray that God will give me the strength I need.  I might pray at times that God give me the courage to do what I am supposed to.  In this I can ask for the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and courage.  

I view all of these as pieces of the puzzle.  They are all important.  It can be  It is a struggle to know God’s will.  There are times when it can be a struggle to do God’s will.  We can turn to scripture to hear stories of how God has revealed his saving power (see my homily from last Sunday).  In reading the scriptures we see that God is there for his people.  This is the beginning of knowing God.

We pray in various ways.  We go to Mass.  We can pray the Rosary.  We can read the Bible.  Sometimes I find the most important thing for me to do in prayer is to stop what I am doing and simply be quiet so that I can become aware of God’s presence.  This is the goal of contemplative prayer.

We can pray looking for answers.  Sometimes we are not capable of understanding the answers.  Sometimes we pray looking for a way out of our suffering when what we really need to pray for is to know God is with us through our suffering.  This is what I was referring to earlier when I said, “I pray to know God.”  My greatest aid is when I simply know God is with me.  This is the core goal of my prayer.


Fr. Jeff

One Comment

  1. Tere Murphy says:

    Thank you so much Fr. Jeff for your excellent advice. What a pleasure it is to have you here in Newark with us.
    God Bless you…

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