Sunday, February 21, 2010
"Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you." - Matthew 26:41
"Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up." - Luke 18:1
"One of those days, Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God." - Luke 6:12
"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Col 4:2
"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thess 5:17
What does it take to pray - with strict concentration - for an entire night?
What does it really mean to devote yourself to prayer?
In today's hectic world, how on earth do we "pray without ceasing"?
I entered this Lenten season thinking about what true prayer looks like, and with a commitment to get better at it than I am now. Right now, aside from morning and evening, I usually end up squeezing prayer into openings in my day.
Which means it is taking a back seat to my day to day life.
And something in my soul tells me that I've got that backwards.
Posted by Michael at 10:36 AM
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I know what you mean. I begin my day with Mass and Morning prayer but it is not until evening that I return to formal prayer.I think we can make our days into prayer just by offering our days and the activities to God.
St Therese's "little things with great love" keeps coming to mind.
In any event Lent is always a great time to strengthen our prayer lives.
Thanks for your comment on my Sunday post.
Karinann - thanks for the perspective. That helps!
Very clever title! A priest once told me that everything we do, all day long can be prayer, as long as we keep our thoughts on Jesus and offer all of our activities to him. He told me that folding laundry could be a prayer (that one was hard for me to buy!). He said even listening to secular music is prayer if we think of it as God's love song to us (well, some secular music-certainly not all!). Anyway, like Karinann, I try to have my moments of formal, concentrated prayer, and then keep looking for Jesus in others and in all of my activities throughout the day. God bless you!
St. Alphonsus says, in The Purgatorian Manual:
"As rational beings, we should have a distinct object in view in all our actions. By performing even the most trivial act" (folding laundry, perhaps, Anne?)"from the motive, thereby to please our dear Lord, and to do His Holy Will, they may become meritorious.It is understood that these acts are not contrary to the commandments of God and His holy Church, and that the person be in a state of grace."
The invocation I use to make even my little actions meritorious is"For the love of Jesus and Mary and the relief of the suffering souls"- because of my devotion to the souls in Purgatory.
You can chose any such ejaculatory prayer, and repeat it throughout the day, even just the Holy Name:"Jesus!" or,"Jesus, I trust in You!" The more you do this, the more easy it becomes, and you will find that you pray frequently throughout the day. As far as the night goes, before bed I offer up my sleep and my wakeful moments to Jesus.And if I wake up in the night, instead of letting my mind mull over events or problems, I pray; usually the creed and other common prayers. If I awaken from dreaming about a person, I right away offer three Hail Mary's for that person.
It was a very interesting post Michael and it was interesting to read the responses. I think I could certainly make more of a commitment to formal prayer which I am trying to do this Lenten season. I usually pray in the morning and evening. Thoughout my day I have more of an informal and on going dialog with God.
Anne, Shirley, Carol - thanks so much for stopping by and posting. I learned from them and enjoyed reading your thoughts. God Bless.
You're so right, Michael. Everything always comes before prayer :(
I do offer all my thoughts and work to God every morning and this Lent am interrupting all my day's errands, every day, for a visit to the Sacrament.
"Dear Lord, I give you may hands to do Your work; I give You my feet to go Your way; I give You my eyes to see as You see; I give You my tongue to speak Your words; I give You my mind that You may think in me; I give You my spirit that You may pray in me. Above all, I give You my heart that You may love in me - love the Father and love all humankind. I give You my whole self, Lord, that You may grow in me, so that it is You who lives, works and prays in me. Amen."
Prayer is a two-way communication. We talk or we listen. One can constantly "pray" by being always open to His voice - 24/7.
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