Prayer, as it was used in the recent inauguration, has become a convenient method to deliver an oratory in fine words. Through it we can praise some, denounce some, insult some, make some feel guilty and even justify some actions and behaviors. It is being assumed that no one should feel offended because prayer is directed at God. Now, does God accept such prayers? Jesus, who urged that man should always pray, did not think so (Lk.18: 1). He gave us direction as to when, where and how we ought to pray.
The First Gospel recorded Jesus instructions regarding the attitude, content and place when prayer was appropriate (Mt.6: 5-15). To start with it was not to be in public with long and repetitious words, but behind closed doors and in a secret place. Prayer was not intended to impress the public but allow God to listen to the troubled heart that seeks answers and comfort. Man does not have to spill his secrets, for God already knows them. He wants man to recognize God as his Father and that His name is holy, that He has a kingdom where His will dominates and that man obey His will on earth. Man should ask daily for his bread and pray before he is tempted (Lk.22: 46). Jesus also stressed the presence of evil from which God can deliver man.
All of the above hinge on man being able to forgive and on the Holy Name that is man’s avenue to God. An unforgiving and self-justifying heart receives no hearing and no answer from God (Lk.18: 10-14). God’s will is that man has a forgiving and loving attitude (Mt.5: 43-48). God, above everything is Holy and therefore unapproachable. For that reason He has set up a Name by whom man can enter into God’s presence. That Name is Jesus or Emmanuel, “God with us” (Mt.1: 18-25). Therefore it is only through the Name Jesus that God hears and answers man’s prayers (Jn.14: 13-15; 15: 16; 16: 23-26). Without the Name Jesus man’s prayers are void. It is because of Jesus that man can address God as “Our Father.”