It seems appropriate to end this series of blogs on prayer today. While we may pray for things we need or want, we also pray to praise and thank God. The gift of life, before and above anything else we may be thankful for, is an immeasurably valuable gift. Each of our lives, our existencen, is not something we could ever earn; it is truly a free and beautiful gift from God.
We should thank God for our lives and for all the good things in them, not just today but every day. That is the topic today: perserverence.
The first obstacle to perserverence - to a consistent, steady prayer life - is disappointment. St. Augustine advised that sometimes "we ask for something it would be better for us not to get", that unknown to us "could have brought us some still greater affliction". We might ask for something that at first seems good, but is "the kind of good fortune that brings corruption and ruin." God sees ends that we cannot, so we must accept our disappointments patiently and with trust in God's will. St. Augustine goes on to remind us that even when Jesus prayed "let this cup pass me by, he transformed the human will... and added Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it."
The second obstacle is time. Fr. Bartunek says it as directly as it can be said: don't cop out on prayer. Make time.
The first commandment is first for a reason. God deserves praise and worship, let alone that we need prayer. If you need a reminder, make that your goal today. Place a prayer book, rosary, or Bible where you will see and use it. Set up an alarm on your mobile phone. A service like Remember the Milk can become "remember the prayer" if you schedule an email reminder for your lunch hour.
Augustine, Letter to Proba.
Bartunek, Fr. J., "The Second Most Important Thing", Catholic Spiritual Direction. Online. Accessed 23 Oct 2009 at http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog/2009/10/23/the-second-most-important-thing