Prayer has the power to take all those things in life that seem like a…
This Easter, let Pope Francis be your guide to a deeper prayer life
Over the past couple of years, I’ve written a few times about the struggles I’ve had developing my prayer life — and, frankly, my family’s prayer life. Over the loud exuberance of toddlers and teenagers, we pray together at meals and at bedtime, and we’ve been spending time with Scripture every night. At the start of the new year, I made a resolution to pray the Rosary every day (which, by the grace of God, I’ve somehow managed to keep). What I don’t do often enough is simply engage God in conversation the way I do with those closest to me. Instead, I treat him like the genie from “Aladdin” and rub his proverbial lamp when I have a wish that needs granted.
As we transition from the season of Lent to the season of Easter, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before: make an Easter resolution — like a Lenten sacrifice but with a spirit of celebration and thanksgiving instead of a spirit of penance. During the 50 days of Easter, I’m going to try to devote 15 minutes a day to simply sitting in silence and conversing with the Lord — to vocalize to him what he already knows: my joys and challenges, hopes and fears.
Thankfully, I’m not walking this journey alone. I’m going to let Pope Francis be my prayer guide for the next 50 days. The pope has continued his nearly yearlong catechetical series on prayer, dedicating 27 Wednesday general audiences to the power of prayer and how we can deepen our own individual prayer lives. Sounds like just what I need.
The following is a sample of quotes from the pope’s series on prayer.
May 6, 2020: “Prayer is the breath of faith; it is its most proper expression. Like a cry that issues from the heart of those who believe and entrust themselves to God.”
May 27, 2020: “Prayer sows life, small prayers: This is why it is so important to teach children to pray. … Prayer opens the door to God, turning our often stony hearts into a human heart. And this demands a lot of humanity, and with humanity one can pray well.”
June 3, 2020: “Let us learn from Abraham to pray with faith, to dialogue and to argue, but always willing to accept the word of God and to put it into practice. With God, let us learn to speak like a child with his dad: to listen to him, to reply, to argue. But transparent like a child with his dad.”
Dec. 9, 2020: “Brothers and sisters, we know that God will respond. There is no one at prayer in the Book of Psalms who raises a lament that remains unheard. God always answers: [it may be] today, tomorrow, but he always answers, in one way or another. He always answers.”
Dec. 30, 2020: “Let us not forget to thank: If we are bearers of gratitude, the world itself will become better, even if only a little bit, but that is enough to transmit a bit of hope. The world needs hope.”
Feb. 10, 2021: “Everything becomes a part of this dialogue with God: Every joy becomes a reason for praise, every trial is an opportunity to ask for help. Prayer is always alive in our lives, like embers, even when the mouth does not speak, but the heart speaks. Every thought … can be permeated by prayer.”
March 17, 2021: “Let us not forget, the Spirit is present; he is present in us. Let us listen to the Spirit, let us call to the Spirit — he is the gift, the gift that God has given us — and let us say to him: ‘Holy Spirit, I do not know your face — we do not know it — but I know that you are the strength, that you are the light, that you are able to make me go forth and to teach me how to pray.’ … This is a beautiful prayer: ‘Come, Holy Spirit.'”
This Easter season, perhaps you’ll join me in reading the wisdom of Pope Francis (all of his general audience talks can be found at vatican.va) and reflecting on how we can grow closer to Christ through prayer.
Scott Warden is managing editor of Our Sunday Visitor.