Walter Ciszek, SJ, spent fifteen years in prison in the Soviet Union for doing clandestine missionary work. He describes his prayer:“Gradually too, I learned to purify my prayer and remove from it all the elements of self-seeking. I learned to pray for my interrogators, not so they would see things my way or come to the truth so that my ordeal would end, but because they, too, were children of God and human beings in need of his blessing and his daily grace. I learned to stop asking for more bread for myself, and instead to offer up all my sufferings, the pains of hunger that I felt, for the many others in the world and in Russia at that time who were enduring similar agony and even greater suffering. I tried very hard not to worry about what tomorrow would bring, what I should eat or what I should wear, but rather to seek the kingdom of God and his justice, his will for me and for all mankind.
“‘Thy will be done.’ That was the key, but only slowly did I come to experience how perfect a prayer is the Our Father, the Lord’s Prayer”¦. The human mind could not elaborate a better pattern in prayer than the one the Lord himself gave us.
Jim, thanks for this post – so inspiring. I keep coming back to reread it and think about it in relation to my own journey which has been so easy in comparison.