Offering Suggestions for What it Means to Pray
Jun 25, 2017
From time to time, we are encouraged to pray. Let’s look at what this might mean. Prayer is conversation with the Lord. The Lord Himself is on the initiating end of the dialogue that we call prayer. God speaks to us in ways such as the following: through the Scriptures; One way of reading the Scriptures is that of using each day the Readings that are designated for the Mass of that day. For weekend Masses and for special Holy Days (Solemnities), 3 Bible Readings are designated. 2 Readings are designated for weekday Masses. The Readings for the weekend Masses are on a three-year cycle. The first Readings for weekday Masses are on a two-year cycle. For weekday Readings, the Gospel is the same for both years of the two-year cycle. Over a three year period of reading the Scripture selections that have been designated for weekend and for weekday Masses, we will have covered those parts of the Scriptures that are significant for our relationship with the Lord.
In the conversation of prayer, the Lord also speaks to us through spiritual writings that come from many authors who have lived during all times and in many places. From time to time, the Lord touches us through music and art that have been dedicated to His glory. Based upon the incarnational nature of our Faith, God would speak to us in and through persons with whom we live and interact every day, even as the Lord would touch others through ourselves.
In regard to how we respond to the Lord in the conversation that we call prayer, we have several options. First and foremost is the Lord’s Prayer. Hopefully all else that we ask of the Lord in prayer is based upon one of the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. There are other worded prayers with which we are all familiar and that indicate that we come to the Lord as members of the Body of Christ: for example, The Glory be to the Father…, the Glory to God in the Highest (which we sing or recite at Mass), the Hail Mary, commonly used Acts of Contrition, and others.
A candidate for the Sacrament of Confirmation shared with me that he prays five times every day. Five suggested times for worded prayer are as follows: in the morning, at each meal, and in the evening.
A suggested format for MORNING PRAYER might be as follows: 1) Offering thanks in our own words for another day; 2) Prayerfully reading the first or second Reading of the Mass for the day; 3) Praying for the persons with whom we will interact during the day, beginning with the members of our family; 4) Praying for persons with special needs; 5) Lifting up the needs of the Church and of the world to the Lord; 6) Praying for the strength to embrace the tasks of the day as opportunities to be embraced; 7) Asking for the wisdom to know what we need to do and what we can’t change; 8) Concluding with the Lord’s Prayer.
A suggested format for the end of the day, EVENING OR NIGHT PRAYER, might be as follows: 1) Offering a prayer of Thanksgiving for the ups and downs of the day; 2) Prayerfully reading the Gospel selection for the day; 3) Praying for persons with special needs; 4) Praying for forgiveness for those ways in which we might have hurt ourselves, others, the environment and the Lord; 5) Asking for the Lord’s protection through the night for the world, the Church, our families and for ourselves; 6) Concluding with the Lord’s Prayer.
Hopefully, that which we ask of the Lord in words will give direction to the way that we strive to live. As we work with the Lord’s help to make this happen, our whole lives will become an on-going expression of prayer.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor