“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. 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 and 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). Thus, prayerfulness is the virtue of a disciple who follows Jesus seeking the same communion.
Advent is a beautiful season of waiting, of joyful expectation of the coming of Christ as a child at Christmas, and of His glorious coming at the end of time. In the midst of the busyness and celebrations of this season, let us not miss the opportunity to cultivate this virtue of prayerfulness, listening for the still, small voice of God (1 Kings 19:12). May we grow closer to Him by our attentive listening, so that when He comes, we will be ready to receive Him with joy.