|The Formally Formal Prayers -when said by those who can pray.|
|The Lord’s Prayer – Paternoster, The Hail Mary- Ave Maria, The Jesus Prayer, the Alleluia – may be said or sung as aids to Meditation. The Hail Mary is conducive to Contemplation when disconnected from the Meditations which accompany it. There are the Mantras.|
What is prayer, how do we pray?
|But what if we have difficulty praying and non of the above are meaningful?|
Prayer, we have so often been told, is talking to God. We may have the concept that prayer may only take place in a designated place – church or synagogue.
We may and can pray anywhere we desire for there is no protocol on God’s behalf as from where he will receive and listen to those who pray. St Francis prayed privately in his own room with the door closed.
But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you-Matthew 6:6
There are other references in Scripture giving us much the same idea, then there are those in the First Testament Telling us to meditate on the Law day and night.
But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.Psalms 1.2
As we find our little painted child making her night prayers.
Other traditions use Rosary Beads, the Little Office of the Church, the Book of Common Prayer, an Australian Prayer Book, or their ilk. These are formal prayers which do not require our imagination during which we may or not Meditate – else race through to do our duty.
The little Office of the church, said by many Laity and mainly by Religious Orders or Lay members of those Orders are at their best when sung in choir.
It would be wrong of me to suggest that non formal prayers are not also considered Prayer.
My focus here are those non formulated spontaneous prayers which arise from our hearts. Which fly through us when the holy Spirit gives us words to say. Prayers are multi layered pathways to God.
Steep and short, undulating, twisting, haltering, rockets taking off before uttered.
We see our holy saints in attitudes of prayer and long for the sanctity we think they have.
One of our Carers has a beautiful place beside a stream where he makes his Prayers, and talks to the Almighty one – he is no longer one for buildings or denomination, Doctrine or dogma. There is only The Almighty one.
Where do I pray?
I pray alone in my bed, while I am washing the dishes or producing these endless colour by number affairs. By the beach, going to the shops. Having Epilepsy might cause some confusion – yet I pray or the Spirit Prays within me.
Mostly it is the Spirit who prays. she has her own good ideas about what I should pray as not to have God refer to them as a ‘Shopping list of wants.
What opposes the life of prayer more than anything?
Aridity over long periods of time can be referred to as our Dark Night’s, our Desert experiences. But far more prevalent is the disruption of the very lifeline which keeps us in the Kingdom – turning our backs on God.
It doesn’t do anyone a bit of good to turn from God since the God who walks the earth can walk around to fronts to goad us,the spirit to whisper and annoy us to come to pray until we cannot withstand the pricks and pulls anymore and reluctantly submit – but how?
When we have become such strangers to true conversation with God we find ourselves tongue tied. So pick up a stone or ornament, bottle top or whatever is at hand and really look and feel it. Speak to God of those things you see and feel there, the wonder of its uses, that humans have such skill in producing it for its specific tasks. Of the stone, its beauty, tell our Creator it is good, contemplate what would happen if it wasn’t there. Where and when it may have come from to arrive for you.
When we become used to this apparent silly or pointless exercise then continue to speak with God about the weather, is always a good subject.Be more serious but remember though the Lord always answers our prayers, unless it is vital for our shopping list of wants to be met,make them prayers for others or for our continuing new friendship you will have with God. We once had a priest who commented on the number of identical shopping lists of sins he received each time and of the number of Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers he set as penance.
Tell God, talk to you best friend Jesus about your imperfections it doesn’t really do anyone any good to confess being late for Mass because it is not a sin but lack of organization. We confess it, perhaps to imitate piety such that the tiniest fault lays so heavily on our souls as to make us feel the greatest sinner.
Turn to face God to verbalize those things you dislike about God, why you believe you can escape God’s scrutiny just by facing away. God knows anyway and waits patiently for us to work our way through to picking up stones.
Then, pick up the stones of the Word, beads of hope joy and peace, beads of warning. Just open it anywhere – St Francis of Assisi opened up the Scriptures three time to discern what God would have him do regarding the formation of his Order. Read there and take your questions to God, imagine that you are there, what you might have done. If you have never read a Bible Mark’s gospel is for learners. It is the Good News of Jesus according to Mark and there you will read of the life of the Savior.
If you know it, Pray the prayer that Jesus told us to pray to the Father.
who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
In Simple English:Our Heavenly Father, may your name be glorified.May your kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.Give us our daily bread today.And forgive us our offenses, as we forgive those who offend us.And don’t allow us to fall into temptation, but save us from evil.Because the kingdom, power and glory are yours for ever and ever.Amen.
And the Latin version has been very important in Church history: Pater noster, qui es in caelis,sanctificetur nomen tuum.Adveniat regnum tuum.Fiat voluntas tua,sicut in caelo, et in terra.Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie,et dimitte nobis debita nostra,sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.Et ne nos inducas in tentationem,sed libera nos a malo.Amen.