What does it mean to pray beyond
simply asking God for favors?
 We can Learn much simply
from the initial words of the “Our Father:”

by Peter J. Riga


ALL MY LIFE I have tried to specify the heart of what prayer is. I've read countless books and spiritual authors and I have not been satisfied in my own heart and mind. I have prayed often, morning, noon, and night, and yet my question remains: what is the core of prayer to God?

I know all the elements of prayer: personal, liturgical, communal, penitential, praise, laudatory, petition, thanksgiving, worship, awe, humility, openness, the Spirit, silence and nonverbal gratitude, and much more. But the question still remains: what does it mean to pray? Perhaps there really is no answer to this question since our prayer is so individual, so personal, and intimate that it is impossible to really give a universal answer to what prayer is except that it is vital for the spiritual life. So vital in fact that without it, there is no real relationship with God. Perhaps we can learn from Jesus who, when asked by the disciples how to pray, gave us the immortal "Our Father" with its themes of worship and petition.