Adding leaven to our prayer

July 23, 2023 | Give Us This Day

leaven to prayer

My Give Us This Day reflection on today’s Scripture readings. You can find the readings HERE.

A friend and I were discussing the problem of letting our faith remain in our heads rather than letting it settle into our hearts and lives. When we remain too much in our heads, grounded in the news of the day rather than the Word of God, for example, our faith can become reduced to a set of beliefs to which we respond with a yea or nay, rather than expanding into a relationship of complete trust built on a practice of prayer.

“But I don’t know how to pray anymore,” my friend said. Today’s second reading reminds us that we are not the first to struggle with this reality: “. . . we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.”

St. Paul’s description is so vivid. We can imagine the Spirit gently working to redirect our daily efforts to sidestep God’s will. With “inexpressible groanings,” the Spirit quietly accomplishes what Jesus describes in the Gospel: pulling away the weeds that threaten to devour us, nourishing the mustard seed of our faith, adding leaven to the yeast of our prayer.

Even if we do not know how to pray as we ought, the Spirit will come to our aid if we are willing to trust in the movement of God in our lives and get out of our own way.

From the July 2023 issue of Give Us This Day, (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2023). Used with permission.

Photo by Duncan Kidd on Unsplash


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