The Year of Faith is a great time to reboot one’s prayer life. Here’s what my column at Patheos offers this week…
Prayer is something all Christians should be “practicing” — both corporately as a Church, and individually — and for a very good reason: the fruit of prayer can be a new heart and a deepening of our love for God.
Indeed, the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s (CCC) chapter on “The Life of Prayer” opens with these words:
“Prayer is the life of the new heart.”(CCC 2697)
(Hm. That makes me ask myself: how “new” and “renewed” is my heart? Or, even more basic: Just what is going on in my heart in the first place?)
The same paragraph states,
“Prayer is a remembrance of God often awakened by the memory of the heart.”
Again, note the emphasis on the state of the heart.
(Hmmm. This takes me deeper: what are the memories of God in my heart? And do I recall them easily? Just, what is my history with God? Is he first in my heart?)
Prayer reveals the heart’s contents, and determines where God may be leading us.
The Lord leads all persons by paths and in ways pleasing to him, and each believer responds according to his heart’s resolve and the personal expressions of his prayer. (CCC 2699)
Recall Jesus saying, “You did not choose me, I chose you…” (John 15:16) The God who first loved us desires our love in return. And so, if I’m a follower of Christ, I must yield to him in prayer. He leads in ways “pleasing” to him.
(Indeed, what is my heart’s resolve in matters of prayer? Am I willing to be led by God in prayer? Or is prayer something that I lead? Which way is more pleasing to him?)