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5 Questions from Pope Francis to examine your prayer


Jeffrey Bruno

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 04/14/21

These questions aren't complicated, but will help you take a look at your relationship with God.

At the general audience of April 14, Pope Francis considered the Church as the teacher of prayer.

The Church’s essential task, he said, is to pray and to teach how to pray.

He encouraged Christians to take stock of our life of prayer, by asking some simple questions,

1First off: Do I pray?

While St. Paul urges us to pray without ceasing, spiritual masters make clear that a time of dedicated prayer is essential to our spiritual life. So the first question is, simply, do I pray? (See CCC 2697: But we cannot pray “at all times” if we do not pray at specific times, consciously willing it.)

22nd: Do we pray?

While the pope didn’t specify the “we,” this question can apply to our family or community life, our parish life, and even our social life. Am I a person who prays within the various circles of my life?

If I am a parent, am I aware that “The Christian family is the first place for education in prayer” (CCC 2694).

33rd: How do I pray?

The pope specified: “[Do I pray] like parrots or do I pray with my heart? How do I pray?”

Pope Francis often warns against “praying like a parrot.” For example, during one of his catecheses on the Our Father, he said:

I think also of many Christians who believe that praying is – pardon me – “speaking to God like a parrot.” No! Prayer takes place in the heart, within…. It could even be a silent prayer, the Lord’s Prayer: In the end it is enough to place oneself before God, remembering His love as a Father, and this is enough for it to be fulfilled.

44th: Do I pray with the Church?

“Do I pray, certain that I am in the Church and that I pray with the Church?” the pope asks. This certainty could be said to be one of the pope’s moving forces. Last week, speaking about the prayer of the saints, he said:

When we pray, we never do so alone: even if we do not think about it, we are immersed in a majestic river of invocations that precedes us and proceeds after us. A majestic river.

But he also likes to remind us how Christ himself is praying for us. At a morning Mass in April of 2020, he reflected:

What Jesus did with Peter, he does with all of us. Jesus prays for us. He prays before the Father. We are used to praying to Jesus so that he gives us this grace and this other grace, to help us. But we are not used to contemplating Jesus, who shows his wounds to the Father: Jesus, the intercessor; Jesus who prays for us.

5Do I make my ideas “prayer”?

Finally, the pope got into the spiritual attitudes underlying our prayer. Are we trying to move God’s will to our own or move our will to God’s?

The pope asked:

Do I pray a bit according to my ideas and then make my ideas become prayer? This is a pagan prayer, not Christian. 

Pope FrancisPrayer
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