“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
There are times that it seems that nothing seems to give us peace. Neither outside nor within us. In these moments it is possible that we are left with a void inside that only God can fill. And since He does not pass into our hearts if we do not invite Him, we have to ask Him to enter through prayer.
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6
Without a life of active prayer, we lose strength of character and become easy prey to fear of what they will say, ambition and eagerness to please others. Without prayer, the constant rubbing with the people around us and with their opinions gradually floods our inner life, until they completely drown it.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” John 15:16
We believe we own our lives, but in reality we are no longer able to think — let alone pray — for ourselves. Once we lose our relationship with God, life consists merely of continuous adjustments to the various social demands and collective influences.
“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.” James 5:14-15
Prayer is the best defense against attacks from the outside world; it is like a protection around the still flame that burns in the heart. And what is more: praying is discipline that is decisive in helping us maintain a sense of peace and order in our lives. So much so that prayer or its absence, more than anything else, can decide the final result of the day.
“For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and their ears, attentive to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Peter 3:12
When we put our hands together in prayer we begin an uprising against the disorder of the world. That is why we must not limit our spiritual life to a single sphere, and more than our desires or purposes are to constitute our prayers. Just as faith without works is spiritual death, praying without acting is hypocrisy.
“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.” Luke 9:16-17
It is essential to include others in our prayers. Among the first believers, and throughout history and their martyrs, we verify the same thought; and that one, even more radical, that Jesus sends us: to pray for those who persecute us, as well as for those who have done us or harm us through slander or any other offense.