The day I stopped praying

17th Sunday in Ordinary time
Cycle C

Gospel reading: Luke 11: 1 - 13

Don’t get me wrong. I am a strong man of faith. At least I struggle to be one. But the day I stopped praying was when I was a child. I prayed to receive, receive, and receive. I prayed to get high grades, to receive honors, to receive gifts, and all others that I need to pray for. I asked God to focus on me and hear my prayer.

But time after I graduated from elementary, something happened with the way I prayed. By the time I finished Grade school, I was not really interested in what I was praying for. Yes, my prayer was answered. But I gained much more: I gained a Friend.

After grade school, I continued praying to Him, but unlike my first experiences of prayer, the next ones I found hard for the Lord to grant them. I prayed for so many, but it seemed that the Lord is granting only a few. Maybe, the Lord wanted me to grow in my outlook of prayer – from a childish one to a childlike one. For I was challenged with this thought, “If the Lord seemed not hear your prayers, would he still be your true friend?" I stopped praying to receive. Instead, I started praying for the Lord to hear others' prayers. I knew they would be more important than mine.

Later on, the prayer would further asking instead what my Friend would want - my time, my talent, my treasure? Since I knew that what I would give to him would not suffice for all the good He has done for me, I wouldn’t have anything to offer Him, except my own life.

This new journey of prayer led me to where I am right now. I decided to offer myself to the Lord as a priest and commended everything I love – my parents, my family, my friends, my concerns of the future – I offered all those dear to me. I knew that I value all these, but there’s no better way to value that to entrust everything to His care.

I still pray like a child. I’d pray with all my might, especially when my mother was confined at the hospital. I would bargain and plead to the Lord for her recovery. But I also knew that His will is a whole lot better than mine. I had to let go of what I want and allow him to do what is best. We in the family made a final commendation of our mother. He prepared her and received her into His loving arms. I knew that everyone would be secured in His loving arms and there is nothing to be afraid of.

Yes, I stopped praying wrongly, but the Lord taught me how to truly pray.

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