Fr. Sanctus Mario
Inspiration and Bible Reflections

Thursday 11th Week Ordinary Time of the Year. How to Pray: The 3 Most Effective Guides to Prayer


Breakfast With the Word Thursday 11th Week Ordinary Time of the Year


 Matthew 6:7-15.




It is so certain that we do pray to God. It is not debatable that many do not fail to attend prayer sessions and Holy masses at least every Sunday and even societies and meetings. However, the question for us is; how do we do them? How do we pray? 


It is good to note here that knowing how to pray is also part of the prayer.


In today’s gospel, after taking time to teach us not to do like the Pharisees, Jesus then shifts His attention and teaches His disciples how to pray. First, Jesus warns them not to pray like the gentiles and the pagans of His time who use empty phrases.


They think that the more words they say are ways to push God into action. Then gradually, Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray effectively. 


According to the teachings of today’s gospels, these are how to pray:


1.Never use Empty Phrases.


First of all, Jesus tells His disciples, to avoid using empty phrases when they pray. 

To fully understand this, let us go to the root. Empty means something that contains nothing. Hence, when there is no meaning in what one says or does, it is seen as something empty. 


Therefore, empty phrases are phrases that have no meaning. Often we hear people insert sounds and meaningless statements thinking that the more we do them the more God hears us. 

This does not mean that one can not be moved by the Spirit. What we mean here is faking it. Today, during prayers, some people only want to create a show, and making unnecessary sounds. 

Many Christians today are turning prayer to a level of only acting out. Sometimes, many of us think our prayer is not answered if we do not see any person fall or act out during prayers. We forget that our Lord Jesus spent most prayerful moments in silence. 

Therefore, our Prayers should come from the heart and inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit. 


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2.Make the Prayer Real. 


Empty also involves when we go to God and just utter the prayers without concentration nor meaning them.

Therefore, another thing to do on how to pray is to mean your prayer. Make the prayer real. Do it as if you are truly talking to someone. Make the prayer a true conversation. 

During prayers, we are truly talking to Someone, though a Spirit but He is true and alive. So, know that you are truly talking to someone during prayers. After praying to Him, take time and listen. He will inspire you. Therefore, let us understand that Prayer is a thing of the spirit.

At prayers, we do not just utter the words for the sake of uttering them. See it as a true conversation. This is how to pray effectively.

Jesus says “these people draw near with their mouth and honour me with their lips, while their hearts are very far from me” (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:8). So, prayer is not lip service but a heart to heart conversation with God. 


Sometimes, at prayers, we read the words in a book without truly making the words a prayer. Jesus is looking for worshipers whose spirits (i.e., minds, hearts, and thoughts) are engaged in what they say. Therefore, let us always put our hearts and spirits in the prayer that we say. 


God is searching for those who worship Him in Spirit and truth (. John 4:23). We should never hide behind fine-sounding words while our minds are very far away from God.


3. See prayer as A Conversation with Your Father.

When Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray, the first statement, He says is “Our Father”. 

This indicates that before we come in the presence of God, we must know that we are coming to converse with our Heavenly Father, who is real, true and loving. Since, He is our creator, such conversation demands love, respect, and humility.

Do not rush your prayer, as if you are talking to someone who does not exist. Do not multiply empty words for the sake of doing them. Always Pray from the heart.


The gentiles and pagans think that to garner the attention of their gods that they must in essence pester them with a multitude of words, like the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:20-40. 


At prayers, the number of words we use does not matter. What matters is the quality of your faith. This means that before we come to God we have to see that we are coming to meet “Our Father”.

We have to pray with faith that He is there listening to us. Let us not treat God like the pagans do. At prayers, we talk to Him like a child talks to the Father. To understand this is to understand the beauty of prayers.


This will help us to say the prayers with humility knowing fully that we are addressing our Creator and Father. 

It also helps us to pray with faith, knowing fully well that God we are praying to is real and exists. Let us always know that without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him, must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. ( Heb 11:6). 


Therefore, when we try to open our mouth to pray, do not forget to mean the prayer. Make it real. Prayer is not a waste of time neither is it a drama. 


May God help us dearest and give us the grace to continually come close to Him. May He answer your prayers in a way you least expected Amen.


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