To become prayer
Many years ago, in the late nineteenth century, a priest called Fr Griffith Arthur Jones was sent to St Mary’s. He was met with much opposition. Within the parish were held prayer meetings later described by colleagues of Fr Jones as “trying ordeals” with “extempore effusions not conducive to devotion.” In a biography of Fr Jones written after his death we read that “On one occasion something or some one was compared to an “unthinking horse”; another time a person floundered hopelessly in a bog of words and ideas, and was driven to exclaim, ‘Thou knowest, Lord, what I do mean.’ On most Sundays the conversion of the Vicar and clergy to the “pure Gospel” was prayed for.” In the gospel reading today, Jesus warns his followers not to babble in their prayers using words to impress others rather than grow close to God. He then gives us a model of prayer which has characterised Christians ever since. Jesus is the perfect pray-er. He is the perfect prayer. The French Priest, Michel Quoist, once wrote, “If we knew how to listen to God, if we knew how to look around us, our whole life would become prayer.” In prayer, we lean closer to the will of God, we wait upon him, listen to him. As we take to heart the prayer of Jesus, we are drawn deeper into his own intimate relationship with the Father, learn to look at the world in a new way, so that our whole life, like Jesus, will become prayer.
God our Father, help me to listen, to learn, to yearn for your love, and to look at the world as it is in your eyes so that the whole of my life will become prayer. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.