By Devin Watkins
Pope Francis continued his catechesis on various aspects of Christian prayer, at the Wednesday General Audience, focusing on the prayer of supplication.
He began by noting how Jesus taught His disciples the Our Father to pray for both great and humble things.
In the Lord’s Prayer, we implore God for the highest gifts: “the sanctification of His name among men, the advent of His lordship, the realisation of His will for good in relation to the world.”
Yet with the same prayer we also ask for simple items, “our daily bread”, which the Pope said indicate “health, home, work; and also the Eucharist, necessary for life in Christ.”
Prayer a ray of light in darkness
Pope Francis said the prayer of supplication is “very human”.
He said at some point in everyone’s life the illusion of self-sufficiency crumbles. “The human being is an invocation, that at times becomes a cry, often withheld.”
We all experience loneliness or sadness, he said. The Bible does not shy away from showing humanity at its weakest, when sickness, injustice, or betrayal seem to win out.
“At times it seems that everything collapses, that the life lived so far has been in vain. In these seemingly hopeless situations, there is only one way out: the cry, the prayer ‘Lord, help me!’. Prayer can open up a sliver of light in the densest darkness.”
All Creation cries out
The Pope went on to say that all of Creation shares in the prayer of supplication.
“Every fragment of creation,” he said, “bears the desire for God” and yearns for fulfilment.
From the depths
Pope Francis urged Christians not to feel ashamed when we feel the need to pray in our moments of darkness, though we should also learn to pray in times of happiness as well.
“We must not suffocate the supplication that rises up in us spontaneously,” he said. “Prayer of petition goes in step with acceptance of our limit and our nature as creatures.”
Prayer, added the Pope, presents itself to everyone as a cry from the depths, even if we seek to suppress it.
Awaiting God’s response
Finally, Pope Francis assured everyone that God will respond, as the Bible makes abundantly clear.
“Even our stammering questions, even those that remain in the depths of our heart. The Father hears them and wishes to give us the Holy Spirit, which inspires every prayer and transforms everything.”
Our task, he concluded, is to wait patiently for God’s response to our prayer of supplication.