My big sister Maureen used to like to braid her hair from time to time. To do this, she had to lift up her arms and put her hands behind her head to braid her hair. While she was doing this, I would come up and tickle her. She would say, "Terry, you are going to burn." She did not like to be tickled. That is why I did it. Recently, I suggested to the girls at our local Catholic elementary school, that they come to the school mass with their hair braided. On the morning of the mass many of them did so. The gospel was about prayer.
There are three things that are needed to braid hair and pray. You need to take time, you need to make an effort, and you may need help. The Apostles asked Jesus to teach them to pray. They asked for help. To pray you need to take some time that you would have devoted to something else, such as sleep. Prayer takes some effort. The tax collector in the gospel took time out to go to the temple. He made the effort to pray. He sought help from God. His prayer was short. Jesus told his disciples to keep their prayers short, not like some religious leaders of his day. Notice the Pharisee has a longer prayer, if you can call it that, than the tax collector.
With a short prayer, you can weave prayer through your day, much like you weave your hair when you braid it. You can say a short prayer in the grocery store, while at your desk, in your car, when exercising. Our spiritual life then is "braided" through our day.
Some of the girls at the school mass did not braid their hair. One possible reason is that did not want to or did not care. Sometimes we just don't want to pray, or we don't care. It happens. Another reason, is that some girls might have forgotten to braid their hair. Sometimes we forget to pray. I get up in the morning and intend to say my priest prayers, but get distracted by the dog or something else. Before I know it, I forgot to do my prayers and the day is well along. Maybe my sister is right, and I will burn! I don't think so. God seems to love sinners who repent, and people who forget to pray or get into contrary moods. What is your short prayer for today?