The subject for today’s reflection is prayer. Something some of us do, and some of us don’t. When we were kids we probably all spent at least a few minutes each night, kneeling by our beds, our mother sitting next to us, saying our prayers. In my case I seem to remember an “Our Father”, a “Hail Mary” and then a list of people who we wanted to pray for. This list included all the usual suspects, Mom, Dad, sisters, dog, cat, all the important people in our lives. I don’t recall it as a particularly enjoyable time, and as soon as Mom stopped coming up to see if I was saying my prayers, I stopped.
Other than two times in my life since then, a period of about forty years, I stopped praying. I’m talking serious praying, not the “God, I sure hope I get lucky tonight” or “God, let me get a single to score the run” kind. I define serious prayer as asking God for something important. One of those two times I have written about already, when I asked for help to determine which course I should take with my life. The second I haven’t written about, but you know me, I’m sure I will. Both prayers have been answered.
About a year ago, I had something happen in my life, which got me to thinking about my life, and asking questions about it. At this time I started praying every night. The “Catechism of the Catholic Church
“, which by the way you can order here through Amazon if you would like to help support the cause, has a whole section dedicated to prayer. It lists five types of prayers:
- Blessing and Adoration
- Prayer of Petition
- Prayer of Intercession
- Prayer of Thanksgiving
- Prayer of Praise
It also lists three ways of praying:
- Vocal prayer
- Contemplative Prayer
When I first began praying again, it was at night when I went to bed, and it was of the contemplative type.
What is contemplative prayer? St. Teresa answers: “Contemplative prayer in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we who we know loves us.” – CCC 2709
I have since added both vocal and contemplative prayer to my daily routine. So the question arises” Is my praying doing any good? Are my prayers being answered?
This isn’t an easy question to answer, one thing I have learned concerning whether prayers are answered or not, is that one must be patient. As I wrote in the reflection I linked to above it took me almost thirty years to figure out what the sign was. But I do beleive they are answered, you just might have to work to see the answers.
There is something else I have found about prayer, especially when I pray a formal, written prayer. I have one I pray every morning before I leave the house, and it serves as a reminder as to what I need to do every day. I found it in the back of one of my bibles, it is called “Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi“. I figure if I remember to do these things every day, then i am well on my way to leading a good Christian life. Even if you don’t beleive in God and the Bible, following these “rules” would certainly make you a better person.
But then that is another post for another day. Becasue right now I need to get ready to head to mass.