Our Catholic tradition tells us that we come from God and that all of life is a journey back to God. In John 16:5 Jesus said, “Now I am going to him who sent me.” If, like Jesus, we are on our way back to the Father who sent us, isn’t it a good idea to stay connected with him along life’s way? Such connection, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, accomplishes several things.
Prayer keeps us mindful that God is.
Our loving, merciful God always is. Who wants to be deprived of knowing this God? Who wouldn’t want to have the ability to draw from this eternal well of faith, hope, and love?
Prayer keeps us aware that we depend on God.
We exist because of God’s love for us. Our lives continue because we are sustained by the physical world God created, including the world of our own miraculous bodies.
Prayer helps us consent to God’s working in our lives.
Giving consent to God is not always an easy thing to do. We would prefer to avoid life’s difficulties. The inevitable suffering we experience in life can become a source of invaluable learning when we consent to God’s will. This is what the saints experienced. It can be just as true for us.
Prayer keeps us aware of our joyful destiny: loving union with God.
Many of us say that we want to get closer to God. Prayer is the way. Jesus calls us not servants but friends. And friends must make time for friends—to enjoy one another, to listen to one another, and simply to do things together. When making time for God becomes a priority, we are on the way to becoming closer to God.
It is wise and healthful to disengage for a while each day from the multiple demands made upon us and to spend some time with God. When we make this time, the other things generally get done as well. I’ve heard people say, “If I skip my prayer time, the quality of my day suffers.” Getting closer to God is demanding but fulfilling too. It is why we were created.
Why pray? God invites us. Jesus calls us friends, and friends need to spend time together.