Often times we hear words that speak of Jesus and his prayer: his time in the desert, alone on a hillside or teaching his disciples. Usually, though, he is alone, unobserved. Unfortunately we just take his prayer time as very private. Why not? He is Jesus, Son of God! We might feel we have no right to break into his privacy. Yet, because Jesus calls us to prayer in our lives for ourselves and others, I believe we should inquire about Jesus' prayer. He did not have rosary beads! There we no churches as we know them today, just the big temple in Jerusalem.
So how did Jesus pray? St. John's gospel, Chapter 17, provides an answer. This particular chapter is Jesus' prayer that falls from his lips on Holy Thursday evening. He is praying for his closest associates, the apostles -- and all the disciples from that day forward; for them and for all of us.
So what was his prayer? Are you surprised to learn that he prayed that you and I would come to "know" God. He did not mean that we should know him as scholars "know about" him. It is not book learning he sought for us in his prayer. He prayed that we would "know" God in a very personal way.
This is a practice we might evaluate. How personal, how intimate is the prayer relationship I maintain with God? I truly believe our prayer will never be "easy" if it is little less than repetitious prayer. One of the painful realities of mental illnesses, as we experience it in the lives of those with Alzheimer's Disease, is the incessant repetition of certain sentences or questions. So, did you ever wonder what God must think if we rattle on with the same prayers, the same impersonal expressions that we use just to make up time? I cannot imagine how tedious it must be to be on the receiving end!!! This does give us something to consider in our prayer lives?