As Christmas approached, we may have found ourselves filled with thoughts of the Baby Jesus lying in His manger, the Blessed Virgin and Saint Joseph looking on adoringly. Not surprisingly, our emotions might have risen to lofty heights – those heights are directly proportionate to the nearness of Midnight Mass, I find.
The trouble is, once Christmas has passed, our emotions cool, our quest for virtue diminishes and – before we know it – we are right back where we started; and often with no clear sense of how to get anywhere else regarding progress in the spiritual life.
That’s where prayer comes in.
The first reason we need prayer at this point is that it is an indispensible condition of being a Christian – we cannot realistically call ourselves followers of the Lord if we do not follow His example of prayer; at every moment and at every major point in the events of His life recounted in the Gospels, His first recourse was to prayer – He even teaches us how to pray. So it should be with us; we need to pray and to do so ‘continuously’.
The second reason we need prayer at this point is that it is the foundation upon which everything else is built. We cannot expect to live a properly Sacramental life, nor one focussed on the needs of those around us, nor lives where we progress in the spiritual life, if we do not pray. Prayer supports and sustains our endeavours and it makes them possible – remember, we achieve nothing alone; but only with the grace of God. Prayer is our first response to His invitation to us, inviting His divine grace to touch us and transform us.
And at this time of the year – particularly with New Year approaching and it’s abundance of ‘good intentions’ we intend to pursue – this is a very good (and necessary) one to add to the list.
Once we have established our need to commit to prayer, the question is – how do we go about this in a sustainable and manageable way? I wrote about this previously in a post called The Habit Of Prayer – you may like to read this for some specific suggestions.
Prayer brings it’s own rewards, especially if practised faithfully and perseveringly.
Why not give it a go?