Kathy Bernard – Publisher /
THERE is a story about a young shepherd boy who was tending his sheep one sunny Sunday morning when he heard the bells of a local church ringing. He paused, watching people dressed in their Sunday finery walking along the road by the pasture where he was feeding his sheep. He thought to himself, “I want to pray. I would like to communicate with God! But, what can I say to Him? I have never been to church more than a time or two and the few books someone gave my parents don’t teach me how to pray.
SADLY, he did not own a bible or knew anyone who could help him. But for some reason he really wanted to connect with God. There were so many things he needed to ask and tell God. And then, an idea to him.
A priest who was passing by on his daily walk before mass heard the boy’s high pitched, childish voice and peeked through the bushes by the side of the road. He saw a young boy kneeling with folded hands, and eyes closed, repeating the alphabet.
THE priest interrupted the boy saying, “What are you doing, my little one?” The boy replied, “I was praying, sir.” The priest seemed surprised and said, “But why are you reciting the alphabet?” The boy explained, “I don’t know any prayers, sir. And I haven’t gone to Church for a long, long time. But I want God to take care of me and my family even though they do not go to Church anymore, and I want Him to help me care for my sheep. And so I thought if I said all I knew, He could put the letters together into words, and He would know all that I want to say!”
THE priest smiled encouragingly and said, “Bless your heart, my child, God will know. Yes, He will!” As the priest walked away and went on to Church knowing full well that he had just heard the finest homily. It would top any he could possibly offer that day to the Congregation.
YOUsee, prayer heightens the reality of our heavenly Father. It is that two way communication, a connection brought about through faith and we know with confidence and certainty that God listens to each of us. As we pray earnestly to God, no matter how we verbalize that prayer, He reads the content of our hearts. Romans 8: 26-27 tells us “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we may not know how God wants us to pray but the Holy Spirit prays for us with groaning that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all our hearts, knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.”
FIRST we must find a quiet place without distractions. Then picture the Lord, with a patient smile, sitting across from you. Through the Holy Spirit, you will know He is waiting with kindness and complete attention because He wants to hear every word you say. Then, because you are one of His, tell Him whatever is on your heart and mind. He’ll listen to you with great understanding and compassion. You don’t need big, educated words or eloquence of speech, nor programmed prayers. He already knows your needs, your worries, and your desires, and He wants us to bring it all to Him through honest unadorned prayer because we are then showing that we love Him, depend on and want to obey Him. Come humbly to Him, always ending with what Jesus Christ says in John 14:13-17: “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father maybe glorified in the Son”. And 1 Timothy 2:5 tells us in no uncertain terms: ‘For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.” Surrender all things to God through His Son and God will uphold and sustain all who come in faith.
SOMETIMES we often neglect the aspect of prayer in giving thanks for what He has already given to us. So often, we want His powers to provide the things we want, and if this is not forthcoming, we feel adrift and uncared for. But we must reflect on giving God something vital and that is ourselves. Thank Him for life, our sustenance, our safe havens, our health, and all the blessings we take for granted. Often we neglect Him until we need something that no man can give, and it is then that wego to Him as a final resort.
WE are all the children of God and He wants, no, He longs for us to talk with Him through prayer. It does not matter that it is a simple prayer. In the quiet of prayer, we can lay all our burdens, worries and concerns before Him, knowing that He is with us and hears us. In turn, we will receive assurance, guidance, peace, strength, power, and revelation, because we have put all things in His care, confident He will provide for us. He will give us the things He wants to give if they are right for us. Philippians 4:6-7 states, “In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all human understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.”
THE young boy in this story prayed to the Lord the only way he knew and it was sufficient, for the Lord understood what was in his heart. God also listens to us with divine Knowledge and understanding, and if need be, gives forgiveness and clemency to all who come before Him with a simple, heartfelt prayer. Words do not have to be classic or special if it truly comes from the heart of us. As we pray with adoration, recognizing the supreme authority of our Father, we can rest in complete assurance that we are His highest priority.
A Final Prayer from Pope John Paul II
IIL’Osservatore Romano, 11-5-79, 2 reads: I leave you now with this prayer that the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to each one of you, that He will give you the strength to go out and profess that you are Christian, that He will show you that He alone can fill your hearts. Accept His freedom and embrace His truth, and be messengers of the certainty that you have been truly liberated through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This will be the new experience, the powerful experience, that will generate, through you, a more just society and a better world. God bless you and may the joy of Jesus be always with you!”