Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rogation Days

"Ask, and you shall receive; that your joy may be full." (John 16:24)

These are another words of Jesus referring to the efficacy of prayers offered in His name. Let us think carefully about these words. For God, priority prayers are always those referring to our spiritual progress, such as petitions for strength to overcome faults, imperfections and habitual sins that may separate us from Him. Equally important are prayers for help to overcome passions, for guidance and light in doubts, for grace to overcome laziness, sloth, for patience and resignation in trials, for spiritual progress and increase in virtues. Only after these petitions come those for temporal favours such as good health, successful and profitable jobs, good and happy marriage, long life etc. Although praying for temporal favours is well justified, however, we can re-consider our priorities and remember to ask first for spiritual needs: "Not in bread alone doth man live" (Matt 4:4). Wellbeing of the soul should be our priority for eternity is our ultimate end. Our Lord has given us instruction on well structured prayer. We address God as our dearest and loving Father with affectionate words of first petition: "Our Father, hallowed be Thy Name!" - followed by second and third petitions: "Thy Kingdom come!" "Thy will be done". Now comes petition for our temporal needs: "Give us this day our daily bread". In the Litany of the Saints, we first petition God to spare us from every evil, sin, God's wrath, deception, from sudden and unprovided death and these petitions are followed by prayer for deliverance from thunderstorms, lightnings, hunger and war. In our prayers we should be always careful to ask for first for: "the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matt 6:33)