Part 6  Martha’s Prayer Cupboard  – A Few Choice Words

Jesus used to get irritated by some people’s praying…
He thought they liked the sound of their own voices too much!
I thought at first that this was a bit of a puzzle –
I’d been brought up to believe that
people who prayed long prayers were really holy –
and here was the holiest man I knew saying that wasn’t always the case.
I have to admit, though, once Jesus had opened my eyes –
or should I say ears to it all – I began to see His point.

They might be saying long prayers –
but an awful lot of the prayer was to themselves and not to God.
They always made sure, too, that they were in a prominent position –
so that we could all see them – and admire them – and think how good they were! And just when you thought they couldn’t have anything else to say –
off they would go again!

Jesus prayed a lot –
but He never used long-winded prayers with long words that nobody understood.
When we asked Him for advice about how to pray,
He gave us a prayer that we learnt just like that!
He said it was what the soul did with the prayer
that was important – not what the mouth did!

The prayer He taught is often called the Lord’s Prayer –
because the Lord taught it to us!
But the other thing it taught us was to use short phrases –
and to say them over and over again.
When you are busy and want to pray, you can use that to help.
It helps, though, if you practise it when you have a few minutes to yourself…then your soul gets used to the feel of it – for the times when you can’t sit and pray…

Drinking from the Wellsprings

Many people find the frequent repetition of a word or phrase helpful in stilling the mind.  Some people refer to this word or phrase as a “mantra”.  You might try taking a phrase or word from the Lord’s Prayer – and repeating it over and over – until you enter a stillness of spirit…  Or you might choose a word like maranatha  (ma-ra-na-tha) which means Come Lord Jesus – but because it’s not in a language you don’t use everyday, you don’t get tangled up in what it means to your head – but can let God work with its meaning for your soul.

© 200X Wellspring

[This is one of a series of nine posts using one’s imagination to get inside a biblical character to make him or her come alive for listeners or readers.     Parts 7 and 8 will be posted next week.]

Wellspring is a Liturgy and Spirituality website in the United Kingdom. They have a variety of materials that may touch and inspire you.  Please check out their website for yourself by clicking here.


About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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