Source: More about Prayer
A question we often hear at the Catholic Enquiry Centre is How do you pray? The answer is simple: whichever way works for you. The ways in which we can talk to God are many. Prayer brings you closer to Him, and can lead to comfort, healing and miracles, and so much more. This Lent, perhaps you could try different ways of praying and see what happens?
These are just a few of the ways we enjoy prayer at the Catholic Enquiry Centre. Over the coming weeks, we will expand our library of information about prayer, so please keep coming back. We will publish articles about praying with music, with scripture, Ignatian prayer and more about the Rosary.
Talking to a friend
God’s love is unconditional and whole. You can tell Him anything. We are able to chat away to God as we walk down the street, make a cup of tea, even when we exercise. We can talk out loud or talk to Him in our heads. You don’t have to put your hands together, but you can. You don’t have to kneel, but you can. You don’t have to sit in an empty church, but you can. You can discuss anything with God, share your anxieties and dreams as well as bigger picture concerns such as peace in the Middle East and Ukraine, or help for the homeless and sick. Hand over your concerns and see what happens.
ARRR - The Relational Prayer (or The Pirate Prayer)
A more structured way to pray is to use the following process. You are still talking to a friend, but in a more mindful and relational way. The acronym ARRR stands for the following:
Acknowledge You prepare for time in prayer by stilling your mind and recognising that God is with you, as God is always with you. Take some deep breathes and centre your thoughts. Then, when you are ready, acknowledge how you feel and what it is that you want to bring to God today. What is preying on your mind or causing anxiety? Or, perhaps you are grateful for something?
Relate When you are ready, share this with God. Talk to him and don't feel you have to hold anything back. Think of this as a coffee date with a friend, and they have asked How are you? Or What's happening in your life? A friend wants to hear you relate honestly with them, and that is how it is with God.
Receive Now it is time to be quiet and listen for God's response. Maybe you find yourself thinking of some familiar lines of scripture, or a story from the Bible, or a long-distant memory. You may think of something quite randomly that somehow seems to be God's voice .
Respond You need to be able to act upon what you have recieved during this prayer. Do you owe an apology? Do you need to make a small change, or a profound one? You have heard the voice of God, so there has to be a will to heed His guidance, even if it is simply to allow Him to take care of you.
This would be a good prayer for night time, or during a walk in your lunch break. It could last an hour or five minutes. Try it and see if "The Pirate Prayer" works for you.
Every Sunday, we go to church to pray in community, and this is very important in Catholicism. We are a community in Christ and weekly attendance at Mass is an obligation of all Catholics. There is a good reason for this. When Jesus asked the disciples to follow him, they did so as a community and not as individuals. It is also increasingly important to come together in Church in these times of social isolation and loneliness. Allow the prayers of Mass to flow through you, and be mindful of what you are saying.
Be Still in the Presence of the Lord
Just quiet your mind and allow yourself to be the presence of God. You can invite him into your heart. It is often in this quiet space of prayer that we get to hear God's voice.
Many Catholics enjoy sitting in silence during Eucharistic Adoration. A consecrated host is often displayed in a glorious way in a Monstrance, or the faithful is aware that the Host is in the tabernacle. Attending Eucharist Adoration, whether as part of Holy Hour or a 24-hour Perpetual Adoration. It is a way of being with the true presence of Jesus Christ.
Or sit by a river, or under a tree, or sink into your favourite armchair, and allow yourself to feel the presence of God – remember there is no right or wrong way to practice any form of prayer.
The Rosary is a powerful prayer and one that is a favourite amongst Catholics. During the Rosary, we repeat the Hail Mary as we meditate upon events in the life and Passion of Jesus Christ.
"The prayer of the rosary is, in many ways, the synthesis of the history of God's mercy, which becomes a history of salvation for all who let themselves be shaped by grace. The mysteries we have contemplated are concrete events by which God’s intervention on our behalf develops. Through prayer and meditation on the life of Jesus Christ, we see once more His merciful countenance, which he shows to everyone in all the many needs of life. Mary accompanies us along this journey, pointing to her Son Who radiates the very mercy of the Father. She is truly Hodegetria, the Mother who points to the path we are called to take in order to be true disciples of Jesus. In each mystery of the rosary, we feel her closeness and we contemplate her as the first disciple of her Son, for she does the Father’s will." Pope Francis, Praying of the Rosary for the Marian Jubilee, Oct. 8, 2016
The Catholic Enquiry Centre has a free Rosary booklet available for enquirers in New Zealand, available here.
Asking the saints for their intercession
I’m always bothering St Anthony, the patron saint of lost things. In fact, I’ve leant on his help so many times over the years that I count him as one of my dearest friends. I picture him rolling his eyes as he makes the location of my car keys obvious in some miraculous way, again.
Many Catholics have a favourite saint, as do Catholic organisations. It is common practice to choose a saint for our Confirmation name, and we enjoy a special relationship with them. Mary, Mother of God, is the most important of all the saints, as she is the Mother of God and Queen of Heaven.
The saints are considered to be with God in Heaven, and so are able to pray for us. We do not consider any saint to be divine – only God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit is divine. We are not praying in worship of the saints, but we ask that they intercede on our behalf. This can bring about astonishing events and incidents in people's lives. Who is the saint you are drawn to and why? Have you ever considered asking them for help?
The Prayers we find
One of the many benefits of Catholicism is the rich treasure trove of prayer we have at hand. Please click on the tiles for prayers that are commonly said by Catholics.