• The meaning of prayer

    by Liliana B.

    When I was a child we use to do several prayers before going to sleep. We were praying to the saints, the holy virgin and specially the child Jesus. My mother use to read us every night those prayers from a little booklet. I remember my two older sisters  and I on top of her bed trying to do our best to concentrate, but sometimes we started to laugh while hoping my mother didn’t notice. Anyway, we were promptly repressed by her, saying  were laughing because the “devil” got inside of us.

     The moment of asking for our wishes was our favorite part of the prayer. The other parts were so repetitive that we were able to say them without thinking or thinking about something else; but at the moment we were allowed to ask for something we needed, we were really focused and quiet, down on our knees with our palms joined touching our little faces. I specially remember asking for my academic performance to improve, for myself to stop fighting with my sisters, for my parents to stop fighting with each other, the kid in my class to fall in love with me and for everybody in the family to be healthy.

     The “asking for your desires”  was my favorite part, not just because I could ask, but because somehow I was allowed to talk directly with someone else. The one could have the power (just if I was a good girl) to change my destiny and make me the happiest child in the world.

    Paradoxically while I was growing up I kept the same way of thinking while an unstoppable desire of “real communication” started burning within me.

     At some point in my life I didn’t want more “asking”,  I wanted answers. What I never would have imagined was all my prayers were always listened to and the answers were in a place that I never expected: inside of me.

     Then I realized that most of the time I was bargaining about the outcome I wanted. I wasn’t praying. Asking it’s not necessarily praying. To pray is to communicate.

     From time to time I used to offer a little something in order to “prove” I was serious in the  negotiation. But do you really think you could bargain with God? That He is even interested in negotiating about what is the most convenient thing for you?  Eventually, I had to learn how to be humble and recognize that I didn’t know my own best interest. How do I dare to tell God the way He has to act, the things he has to do for me to be happy? Do I have any clue about what I need to be happy? If I have no idea what is the best for me, what can I ask for?

    I could keep asking for things that don’t have any value and thus remain separate from the happiness itself.

     Then I learned two things. First Nothing in this world could bring me happiness the way I was expecting it. Second, He is always talking to me. He is always trying to communicate with me. My prayers  became an opening of my self and my mind to receive what He has already given to me. The recognition He already knows what is the best for me  before I even ask. My prayers became a listening about what he wants me to do. Without demanding, trusting, being still and letting him lead the way.

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