Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pull Up a Chair, and Pray

As my parish mission approaches, I am saddened that I will not be able to attend. In this age of technology, however, I am going to try to make my own "Virtual Mission" by way of audio sermons. Last night I listened to the first of a three part sermon series on prayer. The priest sermonizing offered an incredible story illustrating the necessity and power of prayer. As someone who admittedly finds prayer sometimes difficult, I found this especially enlightening!

Father went on to describe a man who had trouble praying. When he asked his parish priest for guidance, the wise man of the cloth told him to do something that mind sound silly: Find a quiet spot in your home, he said, and pull up a chair for God. Imagine that Christ is merely sitting down with you to catch up and talk about your day. Speak with Him as you would a friend...

This advice was so effective that the man continued to pray in this manner until he lay on his deathbed. This priest was eventually informed of the death of this particular man by a family member. Happily, the man died a peaceful death after receiving Last Rites. There was just one thing that was strange.

When he died, no one was in the room with him. And yet when the man was found, he was half in his bed.
While his legs were in bed, his head was resting on the chair on which the man had so often pictured Christ. It was clear that Our Lord had simply come for one final chat with His friend. With his head resting in the lap of Christ, the man passed his final moments.

And he offers this shocking statistic:
The average Christian prays 15-30 minutes a week vs. 4.5 hours a day watching TV and 2.5 hours online. 

It's easy to say that we should obviously rethink our priorities here...but the flesh is weak, isn't it? My resolve, then, for the rest few weeks of Lent (and ideally the rest of my life!) just trying to simply pray more than I did before. Waking up just 3 minutes before the alarm clock goes off and spending those few minutes sitting with Our Lord means already doubling the average time a week! If you don't have time to have a sit down talk, then just recollecting ourselves and keeping ourselves in the presence of God is useful too. Maybe it's when you're folding the laundry, sweeping the floor, or making dinner. Maybe you can picture Christ walking with you as you walk down a hall or sitting next to you as you drive in the car. Spending these few extra moments with Christ helps us train ourselves to keep God as priority in our lives.

As Father reminds us:
“He who prays much with certainty will be saved.
He who prays little with difficulty will be saved.
He who does not pray will not be saved.”

Listen here for the rest of this fabulous sermon, and join me on my Virtual Mission!

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