Devote yourselves to prayer,
keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.
Paul writes about prayer constantly in his letters, and he undoubtedly spent a lot of time praying. For Paul the life in Christ begins with prayer. Prayer means making the mind attentive to God; prayer includes gratitude for what’s been given. This passage is like Paul’s mantra: pray always, pay attention, be grateful. This is crucial to understanding how Paul proceeded in the world.
Ignatius of Loyola was greatly inspired by Paul. He is credited with having written “Pray as if everything depended on God. Work as if everything depended on you.” The Ignatian form of spirituality that I follow involves a mindfulness that calls me to always be aware of where God is in my life. I do this by seeking God in the moments and activities of my days and nights, by reflecting on how I’ve experienced God, and learning from my experience and moving forward with the trust and understanding that comes from being in relationship with God. It is a way of processing that serves a plodder like me.
I believe all of us can find great strength in walking the path that Paul and Ignatius have set before us. It’s often said that others can tell a lot about us by the company we keep. In prayer, we begin to close the gap between the greatest of these saints and ourselves, we enter their company, and we’re blessed to be among them.