Monday, November 17, 2008

Prayer / Oração

Three Girls Praying by Pam McCabe
Three Girls Praying

When I was a Catholic, I used to pray at a specific time of the day (usually morning and night) and I did formal prayers. Most of the time, I didn't even know what I was doing. I was just doing what I think was right to do: to pray at least twice a day. I'm not saying that all Catholics pray the same way but it was like that with me. I believed in God but I didn't know Jesus the way I do now (well, I'll write about that another time when I tell you my testimony).
But since Christ came into my life, my prayers have changed. I understood that I don't need formal prayers anymore and that I can pray as if I was (and I am really) opening my heart to a dear friend. And the greatest friend is Jesus Christ. I also understand what the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 meant by saying that we are to "pray without ceasing." No, it doesn't mean that we should give up all other activity and only give ourselves to prayer. That would be impossible to do. It means that we are to pray whether we feel like it or not. It means to have an intimate relationship with our loving Father. And it means that we have to be persistent, not to convince God to act but because, by being persistent, we are keeping in touch and growing in stature as one of his blessed children.
And although I'm learning to pray, and I'm enjoying to do it, I still have a long way to go. When I'm with other people and if I am to pray for someone, I still get stuck because I worry too much about the words I'm saying, rather than focusing on what is really important: the relationship with God, through Jesus. I know it has to do with the habits I had for such a long time and also with the fact that I have always been terribly shy. But I know that God can change that and I'm praying for that too.
Quando eu era Católica, rezava a determinadas horas do dia (normalmente de manhã e à noite) e fazia orações formais. Na maior parte das vezes, eu nem sequer sabia o que estava a fazer. Fazia aquilo que achava que tinha de fazer: rezar pelo menos duas vezes ao dia. Não estou a afirmar que todos os Católicos fazem o mesmo mas comigo era assim. Eu acreditava em Deus mas não conhecia Jesus da forma como conheço hoje (escreverei sobre isso noutra altura quando vos der o meu testemunho).
Mas desde que aceitei Cristo na minha vida, as minhas orações também mudaram. Percebi que já não preciso de orações formais e que posso orar como se estivesse (e realmente estou) a abrir o meu coração com um amigo muito querido. E o maior de todos os amigos é Jesus Cristo. Também percebi o que o Apóstolo Paulo queria dizer, em 1 Tessalonissences 5:17, com «orai sem cessar». Não, não significa que devemos pôr de lado todas as nossas actividades e entregarmo-nos completamente à oração. Isso seria impossível. Significa que devemos orar, quer tenhamos ou não vontade. Significa ter uma relação íntima com o nosso Pai, que nos ama. E significa ser persistente, não para convencermos Deus a agir, mas para nos mantermos em ligação com Ele e crescermos.
E embora eu ainda esteja a aprender a orar, e esteja a gostar de o fazer, ainda tenho um longo caminho pela frente. Quando estou com outras pessoas e tenho de orar por alguém, ainda tenho dificuldade porqu me preocupo demasiado com as palavras que vou dizer em vez de me concentrar naquilo que é realmente importante: a relação com Deus, através de Jesus. Eu sei que isto tem a ver com os hábitos que tive durante tanto tempo e também com a minha enorme timidez. Mas sei que Deus pode mudar isso e já estou a orar também por isso.

6 comments:

Mari said...

Praying in front of others can be intimidating. I still worry too much about how I am wording things... It really does get easier the more you do it though!

Linda C said...

What a great testimony on prayer! It is such a blessing to enter the "throne room" of our Heavenly Father and talk directly with Him!
Linda C

Linda said...

What a great post! And such a lovely picture! :D

It's fun for me to try and read the portuguese version of your post ;) My husband's language (papiamentu) is much like portuguese.. they would say 'orashion' for prayer, which is absolutely derived from portuguese.. Also the name of their island, curaçao is portuguese for heart, right?

Now, I do speak italian and papiamentu.. and spanish I can understand.. but portuguese is just a station too far for me, I have to try REALLY hard to understand anything.. But I'm trying ;)

greetings from the netherlans!

Lara Gisela said...

Linda, I must say that I didn't know anything about Curaçao or the papiamentu language but I was so curious that I decided to search for some information. And I'm going to write a post on that tomorrow. The Portuguese word for heart is coração. If you understand papiamentu, italian and spanish, it won't be so difficult to understand portuguese.
I don't know if I have said this before but your daughter is soooooo beautiful.

Aninhas said...

interessante o poder da oração do pai nosso: http://www.caminhosdeluz.org/A-390.htm

quando rezado com sentimento e compreendendo cada palavra, é de arrepiar...

newlife3 said...

Lara,
My husband and I had a conversation about prayer last night - we were going through all the repitions we memorized when we were Catholic (Me), Lutheran (Him). It is such a joy to me to now pray directly to our Father and in a way that even I understand.

I also am reading your Portugese posts - Years ago I was pretty fluent in Spanish, and can sort of "read" other languages - Portugese, Italian, etc. - or at least get the idea. :)

Ann