True Christian living is quite a challenge! It's not for wimps. We cannot succeed as true followers of Christ unless we have a good prayer life -- a real prayer life, not a babbly one.
In today's Gospel reading, Jesus contrasts babble-prayer with holy prayer, and wordy prayer with a heart-felt "Our Father" prayer. Some people think that the Rosary is babble-prayer, simply because it's a repetitious, formula prayer. And it can be. But it's babble only for those who don't use it for meditation within an intimate, loving communication with God.
Some Catholics mistakenly use the Rosary as a bribe, thinking that by doing a novena (nine days) of Rosaries they can bribe God into giving them whatever they're requesting. A holy novena is a personal commitment of obedience. But a babbly novena is, quite honestly, manipulative and assumes that God can be forced to obey us -- as if he needs to be forced to do good!
Our Father knows what we need before we begin the novena or any other prayer, even before we know that we should pray. The Rosary is powerful, as is our commitment to making a novena of Rosaries, but only if we surrender ourselves, our desires, and our ideas about how God should respond to our requests.
Prayer is powerful when we give God our trust and accept that the outcome -- whatever it is -- is a blessing from God, since he knows the best way to deal with every situation far better than we do.
Think of the prayer that Jesus gave us when he taught us how to pray to our Father. How do you use this prayer? Is it quickly babbled? I dare say that it's sometimes babbled during Mass and at the start of church meetings. Rote prayers often come from the head and bypass the heart.
Each line of this prayer is rich in meaning and very powerful for daily conversion, healing, and growth. Too often, we rush through it without paying attention to what we're saying. It's meant to be an intimate conversation with our very dear, huggable Father. It's the ideal prayer, because it covers everything, the whole range of our needs, even unknown needs.
In your personal quiet time with the Lord, take at least five minutes to make this a real prayer, expanding upon every phrase as you converse with your Divine Daddy. If you do this, you'll notice that the quick recitations of it at Mass and on other occasions will become meaningful, heart-felt experiences of God's love.
To help with this, use these three Good News WordBytes like a mini-course: