5. WHERE OUGHT WE TO PRAY?
1. We can and ought to pray in every place, because God is everywhere present.
Our Lord Himself prayed, not only in the Temple at Jerusalem, and in the synagogues, but also in the desert, on the mountains, in the cenacle, in the Garden of Olives, on the cross. Jacob prayed in the open country, Jonas in the belly of the whale, Job on the dunghill, Daniel in the lion’s den, Manasses in prison. Paul and Silas lying bound in a dungeon, prayed and praised God, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. We can only speak with God when He is present, and He is present everywhere (Acts xvii. 24). Remember Our Lord’s words to the woman of Samaria (John iv. 23). God does not regard the place in which we pray, but the dispositions with which we pray.
2. The house of God is the place specially set apart for prayer.
The house of God is the house of prayer (Matt. xxi. 13). Some say there is no need to go to church, because the whole earth is the temple of God. This is false; God enjoins upon us by the mouth of the Church to go to His house on Sundays and festivals. Our Lord Himself set us an example in this respect, for He was often to be found in the Temple at Jerusalem. Petitions offered in a church have greater efficacy, because the place is consecrated, and we can also pray with more devotion, because our surroundings are an aid to recollection, and we can put aside our daily cares. Besides, the prayers we offer in church are heard more quickly because Our Lord is present there under the eucharistic veils; He has promised that: “Where there are two or three gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them,” and He will help us to pray aright. However it must not be thought that true piety consists in spending long hours in the church.
3. A solitary place is also suitable for prayer.
Our Lord was accustomed to withdraw into solitude for prayer. He prayed in the desert (Luke v. 16), on mountains, in the Garden of Olives (Luke xxii. 39). He bids us retire into our chamber and shut the door (Matt. vi. 6), for in solitude one is less likely to be distracted, and one can pray more fervently.
This article, 5. WHERE OUGHT WE TO PRAY? is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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