There are as many definitions of the word prayer as there are people who pray. What is sure is that prayer is an encounter with God, with Jesus Christ , a deep listening to what the Holy Spirit has to tell us deep in our heart. That is the reason why the person who prays needs to take time in silence, to take time for God gratuitously to be at one with Him and mankind. God talks to us and as it is said about Elijah in the first book of Kings, God talks to him neither like a hurricane or a earthquake nor like a fire but like a light breeze.God does not shout. He does not raise his voice as Isaïah says.We pray to God but God prays us, too. Actually, He expects us to answer his message of love and peace and spread it all around us. Jesus did not leave any theory or practice about prayer but he prayed to his Father , in this way he showed us the right attitude of the one who is praying. We have to pray in secrecy , withdrawn from the crowd, not showing ourselves to others but recognizing our poverty (cfr.the publican’s prayer in the Gospel). We have to pray with faith , trust and thanksgiving.Jesus spent whole nights praying. Before making any important decisions he used to withdraw to pray. He gave us the Lord’s Prayer. In the New Testament St Paul says that we have to pray continually and in any circumstance.
In the Acts of Apostles, St Luc describes the first christian communities praying at different moments of the day. The Divine Office, today's liturgy of the hours in the Church takes its origin from there .
Importance of prayer
The prayer improves the heart, the prayer makes us get in tune with God.It helps us see things with Christ 's eyes and not only from a superficial, human point of view.The Church 's tradition is insistent about wanting the Christians to take time to pray, know God, meet Him, live from his life, from his Spirit, learn how to love like Him because this is what we are required to do in the Bible: you will be my disciples if you love each other as I love you- that is loving to the very end so far as giving our life for the others not only by a violent death but by giving our life every day , by giving our brothers and sisters in mankind our time, our strength. We can only know someone by being with him, seeing him often, living with him. It is the same for the spiritual life with God as for human relationships.There is no christian life without prayer.
A life of prayer , why ?
During his audience on November 21st,2012 Benedict XVI said this “ I summon christians to solidarity with the monasteries and express to all the nuns my gratitude and my spiritual proximity.We owe so much to these people who devote their lives entirely to praying for the Church and for the world."
And Pope Francis said on October 4th, 2013 in Assisi “ When a contemplative nun devotes her whole life to God, a huge change may happen that might take ages to be understood whereas we rather think that a nun becomes isolated, alone with the Absolute, alone with God leading an ascetic, penitent life. But as Christ is “in the centre” of her life, it is the opposite that occurs. In the contemplation of God while praying and being in penitence with Jesus, the nun becomes “greatly human” with a humanity that understands all things of life and its human problems that can forgive,ask and intercede with God for the others.”