Thursday, September 21, 2006

Prayer Will Change Your Life -- Father Robert Altier

Catholic Parents Online's Fall Newsletter is out and they have kindly granted us permission to excerpt some of the items for blog distribution. Their mission is to build a network of faithful, dynamic, and informed parents, students, and alumni, committed to working with Catholic schools, other programs of education and the community at large, to ensure the authentic teaching and protection of our Catholic Faith, and to address issues that undermine our Catholic Faith and Morals.

If you would like to view their past newsletters or sign up to receive free home delivery for future newsletetters, please check here.

Father Robert Altier, currently Chaplain at the Regina Medical Center in Hastings, MN, is the Spiritual Director of Catholic Parents Online and often has a valuable message in their newsletter.

Prayer Will Change Your Life -- Father Robert Altier

Prayer can change all things! This is something we all know and acknowledge, but how many of us truly believe this?

Many people get frustrated and quit praying because God “did not answer their prayer.” Most people, even prayerful people, forget to pray when something comes up or they only pray for help if they think they cannot do the task on their own.

We have to remember that Jesus said without Him we can do nothing. St. Benedict instructed his monks that they should pray before beginning a task, while they are performing the task and after the task is completed. This is certainly good advice for all of us regardless of our state in life.

There are a few other problems we face when it comes to prayer. Many people only pray when they are in trouble; others quit praying when they are in trouble because they get angry at God for allowing the trouble. Still others quit because their prayer is not answered in the way they expected or in the time they expected. It is with these things in mind that we need to consider the nature and importance of prayer.

We hear from both Jesus and St. Paul that we are to pray always. The purpose of prayer can be fourfold: Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving or Supplication. For many people supplication is about the only form of prayer they know; these people only pray

for the purpose of asking God for some favor. Just think if you had someone in your life who only called when they wanted something from you. How long do you think you would remain friends with that person? Yet we get upset with God when He does not acquiesce to our demands. Prayer is not about changing God, because God cannot change; prayer is about conforming ourselves to God.

The first three ends of prayer, adoration, contrition and thanksgiving, in that order, are the most important. Supplication is the least important aspect of prayer, even though for many people it seems to be the most important. Prayer does not change God, it changes us. If we were to spend time every day praising and thanking God for all He does for us and apologizing for our sins, just think how quickly we would change. This is what gives power to our prayers of supplication.

Often when we pray we are looking for a miracle, but we miss the greater miracle that takes place within us as we become more like the Lord. Prayer helps us to understand that God has everything under control and that nothing happens without reason and without His willing it. Through prayer we learn to trust and we begin to see how God brings a great good out of the very things we were so angry about when they first happened. Prayer helps us to accept, even gratefully, those things which we would have rejected if we had not been praying.

All of us need to pray every day. This does not mean saying a prayer or two, it means taking some substantial time every single day to spend with our Lord. This will change your life, guaranteed! It will make you more peaceful, more joyful, more faithful, more charitable. It will get you away from the selfishness and materialism of our society and help you to see things from a spiritual point of view and to focus things more on God and neighbor. This prayer will obtain for you the grace to perform the duties of your state in life with greater facility and it will gain for you the strength and courage to take on what you would never have dreamed possible. Just remember that all things are possible for God and, ultimately, nothing is possible without Him. We have our part to do as we cooperate with God, but before we get ourselves into all kinds of things, we need to pray in order to know that what we are doing is what God wants us to be doing. Prayer can indeed change all things; most importantly, it can change us to become the persons God created us to be.

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