July 28, 2013 – Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Many times in the Gospels, we learn that Jesus went off to pray. Imagine being one of His closest friends, and whenever you are tired and ready for bed, Jesus says, “I’ll be back later, I am going off to pray.” I wonder why He never took anyone with him. I wonder what He said when He prayed. I wonder how long He spent at prayer.

In today’s Gospel, an unnamed disciple must have felt like me. So as Jesus is returning from prayer, he asks, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Jesus must have been waiting, patiently, for that question to be asked. The rest of today’s Gospel puts together Jesus’ teaching on prayer. When I read all the things that Jesus taught His disciples about prayer, this is what I come away with: God wants to have a relationship with you. Speak to Him as you would your father, or your mother, or even your friend. He cares about you intimately. Even though He knows all about you, He wants you to come to Him and share your life with Him. Tell Him what makes you happy and what makes you sad. Ask Him for things you need. Ask Him to protect you from all the things that tempt you, all the things that lead you astray. And, ask Him to give you His Spirit so that you can be a good follower, a good disciple, a good friend in return.

Prayer takes practice. Like most things in life, the more time you put into it, the better you get. So, make a plan to spend three minutes in prayer each day (time yourself!). Once you are comfortable with that, add a minute or two each week. Making it a habit, spending time each day with God, will establish a relationship that will last forever!

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