The Word Among Us

January 2014 Issue

Teach Us to Pray

A letter from the Publisher

By: Joe Difato

Teach Us to Pray: A letter from the Publisher by Joe Difato

Happy New Year, everyone! The new year is always a good time to make resolutions—and they don’t all have to be about losing weight or more exercise.

I’d like to suggest that you make a resolution to grow in your prayer life. And to help you, we have focused this issue on prayer.

The first two articles focus on our disposition in prayer. The first article looks at our heavenly Father and the love that he has for us. It is simply amazing, but it is true: almighty God, who is perfect and powerful and awesome, wants us to call him Abba, which means “Dad.”

The second article talks about the mission of the Church: to make life here on earth come as close as possible to the way it is in heaven. It explores how prayer empowers us to work toward fulfilling this mission more each day.

The third article is more practical in nature. It is focused on coming into God’s presence through repentance, worship, the Scriptures, and imaginative prayer.

Praying with St. Ignatius. Years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the house where St. Ignatius of Loyola lived in Rome. There is a balcony outside his bedroom where he would stand at night and gaze at the stars. Ignatius would stay there for hours, pondering the One who created such a vast universe. As I stood on that balcony, I, too, felt led to praise God for his creation—and I was filled with joy.

When I went into Ignatius’ study, I saw a painting of the Holy Family. I learned that it was the same one that Ignatius often used as he imagined what life must have been like for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Again, I stood there for an hour or so picturing myself in their humble home, watching their interactions and feeling the love that passed between them.

That day in Rome taught me a new way to pray—a way that I now use all the time. I imagine what it would be like to be with Jesus at the Transfiguration, at the Last Supper, or at the Sermon on the Mount. When I pray the Rosary, I always picture myself present at each mystery.

Open Our Eyes, Lord! Using our imagination when we pray helps bring us into the presence of God. It makes the words of Scripture come alive in our hearts. It gives the Holy Spirit an opportunity to show us how much God loves us and to write his truths on our hearts.

To help you explore this kind of prayer, we have included a guide to prayer in the middle of this magazine. We developed this insert as something you can easily remove from the magazine and keep with you. Try it out, and let us know what you think.

Prayer is so important to our lives. When we pray, God fills us with his love and puts his mission on our hearts. Without prayer, we are far more tempted to seek our own desires and not heaven’s. May the Lord open our eyes to his greatness as we begin this new year. May we all come to know his love more deeply!

Joe Difato, Publisher | Email the Publisher at [email protected]