Friday, 6th Week of Easter
Why do we need to pray in Jesus’ name? Well, because Jesus himself says, “Whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.” Very clear… bold… strong statement. What does this mean? It means that when we pray, we should always orient ourselves to Jesus… assuming his attitude, his perspective, his point of view… putting on the mind of Jesus… seeing what he sees… wanting what he wants… desiring what he desires… doing what he does, which is the will of his Father.
When I watch a basketball game, I find it (sorry for the word) ‘funny’ seeing or hearing players from both teams praying for victory. How confusing this must be to God. The poet Henry Longfellow said it well: “What discord we should bring into the universe if all our prayers were answered!” “Then we should govern the world and not God.” “And do you think we should govern it better?” “It gives me pain to hear the long wearisome petitions of folks asking for senseless things they do not really need!”
How senseless to see God as nothing more than a pawn to be used for our own selfish desires. How senseless to picture God as some kind of divine waiter who at our slightest whim rushes off to a heavenly kitchen and then runs back with steaming portions of whatever we have asked for! How senseless to expect God to do for us what we can do for ourselves! We must learn to pray sensibly.
Prayer is not designed to change God’s mind, or to tell God what he already knows. (Robert Barron) God is not like some “big boss” whom we have to persuade or inform about what we need. He is, rather, from the beginning, the One who wants nothing other than to give us good things. Though these good things might not be what we immediately want or ask for. Authentic prayer draws us out of ourselves towards the God who wishes all good for us and gives us all we need to grow in our relationship with God and with one another.
Bishop Barron suggests that we should think of prayer as an attempt to change our minds in order to align our wills to God. This is how we must understand the Lord’s Prayer. Basically, this prayer is about ordering ourselves to God and letting his way of being order all levels of our lives.