Why a Resolution to Pray Makes Sense

Marlon De La Torre

Director of Catechesis

North Texas Catholic

2/23/2017

The time-honored tradition of making a New Year’s resolution rests on trying to make our life simpler and fulfilling in the coming year. 

One of the realities of making such resolutions is that what starts out as very promising tends to fade away by the middle of February. It’s not that we did not want to keep the resolutions we set for ourselves — quite the opposite — our honest intent is to see these through. But one thing we tend to bypass when making resolutions is the value these resolutions hold, not just for ourselves, but for those who will be affected by them. In other words, do our resolutions aim at helping others as well?   

An Opportunity to walk with Christ
Jesus reminds us that “whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will” (Mark 11:24). In the midst of all the resolutions we attempt to make, one we should consider above all others is a resolution to pray. What I mean is the intent to actively make time throughout each day to pray and communicate with Christ. 

Keep in mind, that by nature of our baptism (John 3:5) we have been given an opportunity to have an intimate relationship with Christ. But this relationship must be continuously fostered and nurtured in a way where we begin to engage Christ in our daily life, especially in the holy sacrifice of the Mass. Christ reminds us that all things are possible to him who believes (Mark 9:23). The more we hold to a resolution to prayer, the more we see Christ in our daily living.     

The Value of Spiritual Resolutions
When one makes a resolution to pray more frequently, the immediate question is whether this can even be possible. A second question that would naturally come up is, “what do I pray for” and then, “how should I pray?”  

The first step toward incorporating prayer into your daily life is to contemplate the people you encounter on a daily basis and begin to intercede for them. This intercession can take the form of offering up their intentions through weekly Mass attendance, (if possible) setting some time aside each week in Eucharistic Adoration, or simply asking for the intercession of a particular saint.   

The value in making spiritual resolutions is that you begin to take on the characteristic of an intercessor, that is, one who constantly prays for others. This opens the spiritual door towards developing a more intimate relationship with Christ and thus fostering a genuine desire to turn your attention to Christ. 

The Gospel of St. Luke provides us with three foundational parables on prayer: the persistent friend (11:5-13); the persistent widow (18:1-8), and the Pharisee and the tax collector (18:9-14). The first parable discusses the urgency to pray and the need to persevere in prayer. The second parable invites us to never stop praying, to pray without ceasing, and to always be prepared to encounter Christ. The third parable urges us to practice the virtue of humility in prayer, i.e.,“Lord have mercy (Kyrie Eleison).” It also means recognizing one’s faults and communicating them to Christ culminating in the sacrament of reconciliation. 

These important parables demonstrate the value in communicating with Christ through an active prayer life — one that will enable us to visibly walk with Christ and imitate Him again in our daily lives. The resolution to pray more frequently offers us an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel at every turn. Whether it’s through the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Adoration, novenas, the Litany of the Saints, lectio divina, Liturgy of the Hours, and most importantly, the Mass, a resolution to pray will only strengthen our relationship with Him.  

St. Matthew reminds us of the value of being resolute in prayer with the example of the two blind men who sought out Christ:

And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David.’ When He entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them: ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith let it be done to you.’ And their eyes were opened. (Matthew 9:27-30)

The time-honored tradition of making a New Year’s resolution rests on trying to make our life simpler and fulfilling in the coming year. 

Published (until 12/12/2039)
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