Fr. James Singarayar
30th Sunday of Ordinary Time Oct 23, 2016 | Luke 18:9-14
A few years ago, I came up with this definition of prayer: “Prayer is becoming aware of who I am
in the presence of God.” I could even consistently explain the different forms of prayers within
this definition: when I become aware of my dependence on God, it is the prayer of
intercession; when I become aware of my sinfulness, I begin the prayer of repentance; when I
become aware of what God has done for me, I express it in prayer of praise and thanksgiving.
It was very impressive. But that was until that day when I questioned myself, “What is God like
in all this?” I realized that there were too many “I”’s in my prayer and not enough “God”. Therefore, I decided to redefine my definition, in which today’s Gospel helped me.
The evangelist, Luke, is a master storyteller. His stories are not to be taken just for their face
value. To understand the depth of meaning, we need to dig deeper into his narrative style. We
might have to pay attention to the final twist in the story.
My reflections on the parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector who went to the temple to pray helped me become aware of five aspects of prayer and spirituality, which I would like to share with you. These five aspects, I feel, are invitations from God towards deepening my prayer and life. They indicate a process, or a journey, that God invites me to embark on. They are;
• From an I-focused prayer to a God-centered prayer
• From a wordy prayer to a silent prayer
• From self-justification to being justified by God
• From self-sufficiency to God-necessity
• From a doing-spirituality to a being-spirituality
A deep reflection on these points helped me to redefine my definition of prayer to “Prayer is becoming
aware of HE WHO IS – God!