Hannah praying silently – expressing her heart’s deepest desire – is what struck me in the first reading. It reminds me of what real prayer is.
Someone asked me, “Why do we need to pray since God already knows what we need, what we want, and what is good for us?” Many ask this common and interesting question – both young and more advanced.
Prayer is pouring out our soul to the Lord, just like Hannan did, not to get what we want but to build a personal relationship with God. Prayer can also be a struggle, just like the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemani, because at the end of each prayer we utter, we must totally trust God and let his will be done.
We all know that God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we want, and this reminds us of God’s sovereignty. The best we can do is to allow God to align our desires with his plan for his people.
G.K. Chesterton once said, “The most incredible thing about miracles is that they happen.” Prayer is also the moment when miracles happen. The miracle that transpires in prayer is not always as grandiose as it happened to Hannah. Sometimes, they are subtle, how prayers make us a better person, more forgiving, more understanding. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1324, it is mentioned that the Eucharist is the highest form of prayer because it is the sacrifice of Christ himself. Saint Peter Julian Eymard declared the Eucharist the sacrament of God’s love revealed in Jesus Christ.
As we offer our prayers and celebrate the Eucharist, do we allow the primacy of love to be our distinguishing mark as followers of Christ?
Loving Father, thank you for the gift of prayer. Help us to pray with sincerity and openness. May our prayers bring us your graces and teach us to love as Christ loved us. Amen.