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A Year of Prayer – Reflection by Deacon Michael Feb 2, 2024

Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Deacon Michael Gospel Reflection (1)

A Year of Prayer

 

In the morning, long before dawn, (Jesus) left the house and went off to a lonely place and prayed there.

 

Pope Francis has named this year, 2024, as the Year of Prayer, in preparation for the Church’s Jubilee Year in 2025. The Holy Father sees a need for a praying church that brings us, her People, closer to the Heart of God through a deeper prayer life that enables us to receive the gifts God desires to pour out on us, and wishes that prayer would become a way of life for each of us. He invites schools, parishes and dioceses to create opportunities where people can ‘learn how to pray’ so that we can open ourselves to the Holy Spirit in ways that will draw us closer to God and to each other.

 

In today’s Gospel and on several other occasions in the Gospels, Jesus takes time alone to communicate with His Heavenly Father in prayer. There are many ways to pray. We use prayers of petition in times of need, prayers of contrition when we regret something we have done, prayers of adoration, liturgical prayer, contemplative prayer and prayers that we pray from the depth of our hearts. We do not need to enter a monastery to pray but use different forms of prayer in different situations in our everyday lives. The challenge for us, in our rushed and busy lives, is setting aside some time when we can be, simply and fully, present to God.

 

One cannot share or build a relationship without communication. We know that when we first meet someone, we have to spend time, usually a lot of time, to get to know and build a relationship with them. Prayer is about our relationship with God. Like any relationship, it requires time. Some of us are used to praying on the run, but our relationship with God cannot flourish unless we find time to be fully present with God: speaking and listening, sharing silence, joy or sorrow.  Intimacy grows when we invest in this kind of quality time – both in human relationships and in our relationship with God. If we want to get to know God and build a relationship with Him, we need to spend time with Him in prayer.

 

A good way to start is by actively setting aside some time, perhaps just 10 minutes a day, that is purely for the purpose of being with God. It may be on waking in the morning, resisting the urge to reach out and check our phones, or with our morning coffee, reading a Psalm or using journaling to connect to God. Begin with 10 minutes but soon, we may find it easy to pray for 15 or 30 minutes, and then there may be a gradual discovery that prayer comes gently into our hearts many times a day. What we pray for may not always transform the situation we pray about, but more importantly, prayer will transform us. Through prayer, we are changed and the more we pray, the more it becomes a way of life, in which we are drawn closer to the heart of God and to each other. May we respond to Pope Francis’ call and, like Jesus, make time to connect with our God through prayer.

 

Wishing you every blessing for the coming week,

Deacon Michael Khoury

 

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