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THOUGHTS ON PRAYER




PRAYING WELL (FROM THE ART OF DYING WELL)

 

To live well, thus, to die well, one has to pray well. "Ask and it shall be given to you. Everyone who asks receives," on the condition that one prays well. "You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss."

 

Those who pray well for the gift of living well certainly will receive it, and those who ask well to die well will, without doubt, receive it. Let us learn to pray well, that we may live well and die well.

 

We must pray with faith: "Let us ask Him with faith." This faith should not be understood that we believe with certitude that God will do what we ask. This would be false faith, and we shall receive nothing at all. Faith is believing that God is able, knows, and is ready to do what we ask, if it is fitting for Him to give and expedient for us to receive what we ask for. 

 

Thus Christ asked the blind man: "Do you believe that I can do this for you?" David prayed with faith when he said: "Who knows whether the Lord may not give him to me." And God did not give him. Certainly Paul prayed with faith when he said: "Remove the thorn from my flesh." And he did not get it. The Church prays with the same faith when we pray for heretics, pagans, schismatics, and bad Christians to repent although it is certain that not all do so. 

 

We must pray with hope and trust. Though, through faith, we should not hold with certitude that God will grant us what we ask for, through hope and trust, we cling to the certitude that God might just really grant us what we ask for; "Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of his grace." Trust is born of perfect faith: "Whoever says to this mountain, 'Arise' . . . and does not waver in his heart, but believes that whatever he says will be done, it shall be done for him."

 

St. Robert Bellarmine

 

 

 

(09-07-02) 

 

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