“He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples’” (Luke 11:1). Jesus responds by revealing His prayer to the Father—the Our Father. In fact, this was the only prayer that Jesus directly taught us to pray. His teachings on prayer relate more to inner dispositions and we certainly learn the most from His example of prayer.
Here is a sampling of interior dispositions for prayer:
- Ask, seek, and knock (Luke 11:5-10 and Matthew 7:7-12)
- Two or three gathered in my name (Matthew 18:20)
- Mary listens to the Word, ponders it, and acts (Luke 2:16-19, 51, Matthew 12:46-50)
- Trust in God’s providence (Matthew 6:25-34, 10:29-31)
- Pray, fast, give alms in secret (Matthew 6:2-6, 16-17)
- Go away to a secluded place (Mark 1:35-37)
The virtue of prayerfulness means being still, listening, and being willing to talk to God as a friend. This virtue encompasses all Jesus taught us about prayer as well as the essence of His relationship with God the Father, with whom He lives in constant communion (John 10:30). Prayerfulness is the disposition of a disciple who follows Jesus—seeking the same communion.
Hence, the more we live in communion with Him, the more we take on the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and walk where He walked (2 John 2:6). Through grace, our participation in God’s life, we begin to see the world differently and partake more in His divine nature. In sum, we are more like God because we are living in friendship with Him.
Let us take this reality and look at in a different way. Call to mind a friend, spouse, sibling, or a close friend with whom you share a healthy, loving relationship. With this person you feel safe as the bond of love enables you both to listen, speak honestly, and challenge the other to live virtuously. These relationships are a glimpse of what our friendship with God should be like as they are a foretaste of Heaven.
Prayerfulness is the virtue that keeps us steadfast in nurturing our friendship with God who constantly invites us to remain in His love (John 15:9). May you actively strive to cultivate your friendship with God so that when He welcomes you to His household (Ephesians 2:19)—He may say, “well done good and faithful (friend) servant” (Matthew 25:23).