"I lift up
my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth."
There is a story about a
young shepherd boy
who was tending his sheep one sunny Sunday morning when he heard the
bells of the 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.
knee, he began to recite the alphabet. Repeating this prayer over
and over with reverence. 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 the
young boy kneeling with folded hands, eyes closed, repeating the
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!" And the priest went on
to Church knowing full well that he had just heard the finest homily
and it would top any he
could possibly offer that day.
Prayer heightens the
reality of our heavenly Father. It is a two way communication, a
connection brought about through faith and we know with confidence
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 groanings 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
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
showing that we
love Him, depend on and want to obey Him. Come humbly to Him,
always ending with what Jesus Christ says in
"Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so
that the Father may be 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."
all things to
God through His Son and God will uphold and sustain all who come in faith.
One often-neglected aspect of prayer is 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 we go to Him as a final
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 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. 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
II L’Osservatore Romano,
leave you now with this prayer that the Lord Jesus will reveal
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
"Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong."
1 Corinthians 16:13
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