Some Hopefully Helpful Hints About Praying
Dec 13, 2017
St. Paul urged his listeners to pray without ceasing. He did not mean that we are meant to be on our knees at all times. His admonition suggests that prayer is a life style, that in which we allow the Lord’s friendship with us to influence each of our relationships and all that we do.
It is important that we make time and room in our lives for worded prayer. If worded prayer was not important, our Lord Jesus would not have taught us what we now refer to as the Lord’s Prayer.
I was impressed by an 8th grade student who was preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation when he shared with me that it was important for him to pray at five different times daily. He did not specify what these five times were.
His example leads me to suggest that we might make time for worded prayer at the following five times daily: namely at each meal, at morning and in the evening. Praying before and after meals is an explicit way of acknowledging that the Lord is the Source of the food that sustains and nourishes us. When I eat out, I am impressed by individuals and by groups who pray before eating their meals in restaurants. Besides giving thanks to the Lord, what a powerful way this is of witnessing to our faith. Our Faith is meant to be an expression of Good News that is evident to all. By doing this, we are not imposing our faith in the Lord upon others. This practice invites others to experience with us that which makes us tick as persons.
Praying in the morning and in the evening offers a framework for all that we do. We are strongly influenced by the abundance of information that comes our way each day. For this reason, I try to pray in the morning before listening to or watching news programs. By the same token, I try to listen to the news before I have evening or night prayer.
To offer help in regard to structuring prayer in the morning and in the evening, I suggest the following format: Prayer in the morning might consist of the following: 1) a brief prayer of Thanksgiving for another new day; 2) Praying the “Glory be to the Father…”; 3) Reading the first Scripture selection for the Mass of the day (These Bible references are printed in the weekly bulletin); 4) Have a brief period of silence for reflection; 5) Offer up petitions, like those we use in the Universal Prayer, the Prayer of the Faithful, at Mass; 6) Pray the Lord’s Prayer; 7) Conclude with a blessing.
Prayer in the evening might consist of the following: 1) Praying the “Glory be to the Father…”; 2) A prayer of Thanksgiving for the blessings of the day; 3) Praying an Act of Contrition; 4) reading the Gospel selection for the daily Mass; (These Scripture references are printed in the weekly bulletin.) 5) Have a brief period of silence for reflection; 6) offer up prayer petitions, similar to the format used in the morning; 7) pray the Lord’s Prayer; 8) have a blessing; 9) conclude by sharing some sign of peace.
As we develop and use daily some form of structure for worded prayer, this will offer guidance and direction for our attitudes, words and actions. In all that we do, we will want to give glory to the Lord. Our very lives will more and more become living expressions of prayer in and through which the Lord might work to build up others in His love.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor