*Best of DTB #168* The Catholic Defender: Pray Or Be Prey

Posted by John Benko - April 5th, 2012

Three times the New Testament tells us Jesus went off alone to pray.

According to Mark 1:35, it says, “And rising very early, going out, he went into a desert place: and there he prayed” (Douay-Rheims Bible).

Jesus said, “But I say to you. love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:44-45).

The Lord’s prayer says “Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. Amen

Jesus gives us the greatest example of this in the Garden of Gethsemane: “
36 Then Jesus came with them into a country place which is called Gethsemani; and he said to his disciples: Sit you here, till I go yonder and pray. 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to grow sorrowful and to be sad. 38 Then he saith to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death: stay you here, and watch with me.

39 And going a little further, he fell upon his face, praying, and saying: My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 40 And he cometh to his disciples, and findeth them asleep, and he saith to Peter: What? Could you not watch one hour with me? 41 Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh weak.

42 Again the second time, he went and prayed, saying: My Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, thy will be done. 43 And he cometh again and findeth them sleeping: for their eyes were heavy. 44 And leaving them, he went again: and he prayed the third time, saying the selfsame word. 45 Then he cometh to his disciples, and saith to them: Sleep ye now and take your rest; behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us go: behold he is at hand that will betray me”.

Consider St. James as he writes, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful. Elijah was a human being like us; yet he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain upon the land. Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the earth produced its fruit” (James 5:16-18).

There are principly 5 different kinds of prayer, the purpose of the prayer or intent vary for the situation. The Mass is the central and highest form of prayer. There are elements of the different kinds of prayer contained in the Mass.

The first type of prayer:

1. Prayer of Praise and Adoration: This is very important in the Mass, as well as for personal private prayer. One of the popular prayers of the Mass says, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father.

Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer; you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

The second type of prayer:

2. Prayer of Penitence: In the Mass, it is important that there is the opportunity to recognize our sin and need for God’s help.

One of the most important prayers of the Mass says:

I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

The third type of prayer:

3. Prayer of Petition: We ask God to help us as we intercede for the needs of the community. This is done after the Profession of Faith. Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”.

The fourth type of prayer:

4. Prayer of Thanksgiving: The Eucharist means “Thanksgiving”! I think it is important to go to Mass with a thankful heart especially for answered prayers and granted answers. Just like the leper who came back to thank Jesus for his healing, we should have that same spirit. Like the blind man who could now see, we will worship the Lord.

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

The fifth type of prayer:

5. Prayer of Intercession: St. Patrick gives a great prayer of intercession: “May the Strength of God pilot us. May the Power of God preserve us. May the Wisdom of God instruct us. May the Hand of God protect us. May the Way of God direct us. May the Shield of God defend us. May the Host of God guard us. Against the snares of the evil ones. Against temptations of the world. May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us! May Christ be in us, Christ be over all! May Thy Salvation, Lord, Always be ours, This day, O Lord, and evermore. Amen.

Prayer is offered in the Mass, but it is also important that you develop a prayer life at home, using all the types of prayer. St. Paul entructs us to pray without ceasing. We should have a song in our heart as the saying goes, when you sing praise, you pray twice.

To pray with the Church universal throughout the Church calender is very important. This is so important as we pray for our nation. “And my people, upon whom my name is called, being converted, shall make supplication to me, and seek out my face, and do penance for their most wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sine and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).


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