Tuesday of the Twenty-third week in Ordinary Time
“He spent the night in communion with God.”
When the apostle Paul says: “Present your needs to God,” (Phil 4:6) this does not mean that we make them known to God since he knows them even before they come into being; it means, rather, that we will know whether our prayers are of value by our patience and perseverance before God and not by prattling before men… Thus, it is not forbidden or useless to pray for a long time when this is possible, that is to say, when it does not prevent other good and necessary occupations; and moreover, when we are doing so, we must always pray with desire, as I have said.
For if a person prays for a long time, it is not prayer that is babbled (Mt 6:7), as some people think. Talking abundantly is one thing, loving for a long time is another. For it is written that the Lord himself “spent the night in prayer” and that he “prayed with all the greater intensity.” (Lk 22:44) He wanted to give us an example by praying for us in time, who, with his Father, hears our prayers in eternity.
It is said that the monks in Egypt say frequent but very short prayers that are thrown like arrows, so as to prevent that the vigilant attention needed by those who pray become relaxed and dissolute by being prolonged too much… Prayer does not have to include many words, but much supplication; thus, it can be prolonged with fervent attention… To pray a lot means to knock for a long time and with all our heart at the door of him to whom we are praying (Lk 11:5f.). For prayer consists more in groaning and tears than in discourse and words.