THE LAWS OF PRAYER

Friday, 8th Week in Ordinary Time 

            “All you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.”

            Among the most important teachings of Jesus are about faith, trust, prayer, forgiveness, and love. We see in today’s gospel how all of these are linked with one another. According to William Barclay, this passage gives us three rules for prayer.

            First, it must be the prayer of faith. The phrase about “removing mountains” was a common Jewish phrase that was just same as “removing difficulties.” It means that if we have real faith, prayer is a power which can solve any problem and make us able to deal with any difficulty.

            Second, it must be the prayer of expectation. It is said that anything tried in the spirit of confident expectation has a more than double chance of success. Prayer must never be a mere formality. It must never be a ritual without hope.

            Third, it must be the prayer of charity. The prayer of a bitter person cannot penetrate the wall of bitterness. The principle of God is love – for he is love. If the ruling principle of one’s heart is bitterness and unforgiveness, that person has erected a barrier between oneself and God.

            We must learn to follow these rules for prayer…

            First, we must learn to pray with faith. It involves that we should be willing to take our problems and our difficulties to God. It also involves that we should be ready to accept God’s guidance when he gives it. It is useless to go to God and to ask for his guidance unless we are willing to be obedient enough to accept it.

            Second, we must learn to pray with expectation. It involves expecting the best answer from God. The problem is that what we want from God is our answer, and we do not recognize his answer when it comes.

            Third, we must learn to pray with charity. If our prayers are to be answered, we must first ask God to cleanse our hearts of anger and hatred, of enmity and hostility, of resentment and bitterness, we must first ask God to cleanse our hearts from the bitter spirit and put into them the spirit of love. Then we can speak to God and God can speak to us.

            Again, may we learn to follow these rules of prayer: to pray with faith, with expectation, and with charity.

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