Teach us to pray. With this simple request, the disciples recognize the importance of learning about prayer from the subject of our prayer. That is to say when we pray, our eyes and our hearts and our souls are turned toward the person of Jesus.
What led them to seek this request at this moment in their relationship with the Lord Jesus? Perhaps they witnessed in Jesus, in the midst of his ministry, had the type of peace that they desired for themselves. Maybe in seeing his example of prayer, in those moments when he went off to a quiet place, sometimes even in the midst of tremendously successful activity, something in their hearts was awakened as they desired the same type of awareness of the presence of God.
In many ways, the Gospels we’ve heard from the previous days, and the Gospels we will here in the days to come, or all lessons in prayer. It is clear that a healthy prayer life requires many things. While we might find one form of prayer or another more beneficial at a particular time, a most successful prayer life only occurs when we find ourselves engaged in the variety of ways in which God can be made available to us.
Yesterday for example we were reminded about the importance of action and contemplation. Today, we are reminded of the importance of turning our attention’s not only to ourselves, but to those needs that are present in the world. Perhaps the most important element of prayer, the most important lesson that we can learn, is to turn our minds always in prayer, to the very person of Jesus. Even when we are asking for the intercession of Mary or some of the saints, to pray on our behalf, we are seeking in these moments greater awareness of Jesus. We are to remember the important element of prayer is in recognizing how important is our faith life in Jesus, and how wonderful and beautiful is the life of Grace the Jesus gives to us.
Today’s first reading from Paul, is a memoir of sorts about how God’s grace was active in his own life. This grace both led him to a deeper relationship with Jesus, and gave him the courage to stand up for what was right even in the face of opposition. In some senses, it is a reminder to us of the importance of looking over our lives from time to time to discover and to identify those moments where God’s grace is been particularly active in our lives. Both in the words of the Our Father as given to us by Luke, and in the example of Paul recounting his life of grace, we are reminded that the basic element of any prayer is to discover the person of Jesus, and to seek it always in our lives.