Praying Sustains Us Throughout Life

prayerAll Souls is celebrated on November 2. It is a day on which we pray for all the departed loved ones  we have. When we pray for our loved ones, we help ourselves as well. We build the relationship that God longs to be in with us. We practice  the basic concept of worship and praise because we trust. Prayer is about trust.  Even when we pray for the dead we are trusting in the Lord.

In the early days of Christianity the names of the departed brethren were entered in the diptychs. A diptych is a sort of notebook, formed by the union of two tablets, placed one upon the other and united by rings or by a hinge. These tablets were made of wood, ivory, bone. or metal.

Praying for the dead might not make sense to nonbelievers but for Catholics it is part and parcel of the faith tradition, rooted in Old Testament readings and supported by the Catechism and the Church’s funeral liturgy. Prayers for the dead begin at the moment of death, often when family members are gathered around the bedside of the person who has die. Prayers in the funeral liturgy express hope that God will free the person who has died from any burden of sin and prepare a place for him or her in heaven. After the person’s death, the family is encouraged to continue praying, and to participate in the preparation of the vigil (wake) and funeral liturgies.

Prayer is necessary in all stages of life.

One key reason to pray is because God has commanded us to pray. If we are to be obedient to His will, then prayer must be part of our life in Him. Where does the Bible call us to prayer? Several passages are relevant:

  • “Pray for those who persecute you” -Matthew 5:44 (NIV) [1]
  • “And when you pray …” -Matthew 6:5
  • “This, then, is how you should pray …” -Matthew 6:9
  • “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” -Romans 12:12
  • “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” -Ephesians 6:18
  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” -Philippians 4:6
  • “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” -Colossians 4:2
  • “Pray continually” -1 Thessalonians 5:17
  • “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone …” -1 Timothy 2:1

Prayer is an act of obedience. God calls us to pray and we must respond.Prayer allows us to worship and praise the Lord. It also allows us to offer confession of our sins, which should lead to our genuine repentance. Moreover, prayer grants us the opportunity to present our requests to God. All of these aspects of prayer involve communication with our Creator. He is personal, cares for us, and wants to commune with us through prayer.

Prayer is not just about asking for God’s blessings – though we are welcome to do so – but it is about communication with the living God. Without communication, relationships fall apart. So, too, our relationship with God suffers when we do not communicate with Him.


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