Posted February 22, 2012 in The Pope's Corner:
Why Pray

by Pope John Paul II.

Why must we pray? First of all, because we are believers. For prayer is the recognition of our limitations and dependence. From God we come, to God we belong, to God we shall return. Hence the least we can do is surrender ourselves to him, our Creator and Lord in full and total trust….

A further reason why we should pray is that we are frail and guilty. Humbly and realistically we need to admit that we are poor creatures, confused in our ideas, tempted to wrong-doing, frail and weak, constantly in need of inner strengthening and consolation.

Prayer gives us strength for high ideals, for keeping the Faith, for love, for purity, and for generosity.

Prayer gives us the courage to rise above indifference or guilt when we have fallen into weakness and temptation.

Prayer gives us the light to see and consider events in our personal lives and in history itself in the salvific perspective of God and eternity.

So we must never stop praying. Let no day go by without praying at least a little. Prayer is a duty; it is also a great joy, since it is a dialogue with God through Jesus Christ.

[How to do this?] Every Sunday, Holy Mass, and if you possibly can, sometimes on weekdays as well, and every day, prayers in the morning and at night, and whenever else you can find a moment.

St. Paul wrote to the early Christians: Be persevering in your prayers (Col. 4:2), and with every sort of prayer and entreaty, keep praying on every possible occasion (Eph 6:18).

If you really wish to follow Christ, if you want your love for him to grow and last, you must be diligent in prayer.

This is the key to the vitality of your life in Christ. Without prayer, your faith and your love will die.

But if you are constant in daily prayer and in attendance at Sunday Mass, your love for Jesus will grow. And your heart will know a joy and deep peace that the world cannot give you.

… Prayer must come before everything else. People who do not take this view, who do not put this into practice, cannot plead the excuse of being short of time. What they are short of is love.

Excerpted from three talks to young people in the book, Agenda for the Third Millennium, (1996), pp. 71-75, Harper-Collins.



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