So what does a desert of prayer look like? What should I do once I’ve gotten away from the world?
Well there isn’t really one single way of praying. However, there are some really good ways of praying.
There is one prayer [besides the Mass] that is a perfect summation of all prayers, The Our Father (The Lord’s Prayer). Look at what two of the greatest theologians of all time say about it:
Run through all of the words of the holy prayers, and I do not think that you will find anything in them that is not contained and included in the Lord’s Prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer is the most perfect of prayers….In it we ask, not only for all the things can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired. The prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also in what order we should desire them.
St. Thomas Aquinas
In this prayer we find how we should model all of our prayer and what we should be asking for. We should begin by humbling ourselves by praising God for the holiness of his name and asking him to send his kingdom now, within our hearts. We ask him that his will be done here and now. These are the most important things and are the first things we should do in our prayer lives: praise the glorious majesty of God and desire that his rules, his ways come and penetrate our lives so that his will is accomplished on earth. The subsequent petitions fall into place, we ask for our daily bread (Jesus, the Bread of Life), the forgiveness of our sins, the grace to forgive others, and the grace to be holy and resist temptation.
In this model of prayer that the Lord Jesus himself taught us, we find the beginning of the making of a desert of prayer. So, let us begin by contemplating this simple prayer. Pray it in the quiet of our hearts and really contemplate the words. “Our Father…” God really is my Father. “who art in heaven…” God is not of this world but transcends this place and this time. ”hallowed be thy name…” God is holy and his name is to be reverence and feared.
Like I said, there is no one single way to pray, however, this is a prayer that comes straight from the lips of God, so why not build our desert of prayer on this prayer, letting it penetrate our hearts, our minds, and our souls?
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.