Why do we pray? The answer is multifaceted. We pray prayers of petition to ask God for things. This form of prayer allows us to grow in humility. It provides a valid framework for God as creator and us as created.
We pray prayers of thanksgiving, gratitude, and praise for the things he provides; for answered prayers. Hopefully, we pray these prayers even when we don’t get what we asked for because we know that God knows best.
We pray when we go to mass or similar church services, for where two or three are gathered … Mt. 18:20.
The question is – do we pray to grow in holiness? Jesus told us that the Christian way is about living in unity with God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jn 17:21. After generations of Trinitarian theology focusing on creedal formulas to combat heresy, more modern theologians have focused on the Trinity as love, and how this loving God in three persons invites us to share in his holiness.
All that we long for, all that we want to be is found in praying for holiness. It is by praying in silence, in being open to what God wants to accomplish in our lives, that we grow in holiness. Only God is holy, so this means that we become united to him and his holiness.
It is in silence that God reaches into the depth of our being to pull out all that doesn’t belong. It can be a confusing process, but it is one that bring the ultimate meaning of life – true union with God.
Spend some time today asking the Holy Spirit to help you on this path to silent prayer. If you need further conviction, just ask him to show you truth. Be open to his answer. There are many paths to silent prayer. Read scripture and focus on the words where you hear God speak, then uttering that word or phrase in silence while you slowly drift into quiet. (Lectio Divina). You can meditate by placing yourself in Biblical stories, and again, drift into quiet. You can pray a rosary, and allow the mysteries to help facilitate quiet. Don’t worry if your thoughts prevent you from finding the quiet stillness within. God is faithful. All we have to do is our best.
Ms. Debra D. Weldon, O.P.
If you need assistance in getting started, I recommend Open Mind, Open Heart by Thomas Keating.