January 14, 2007

Prayer Gets the Shaft

I knew that headline would get your attention! Hee-hee.

Seriously, I have blogged before about my weakness in prayer. Meaning, I don't do it enough and I stink at it when I do it. Oh, I'm trying and it's getting better but it's still not great.

I have taken 3 Catholicism/Catechism courses in the last year or so. All three by different people (2 are priests). All three skipped much, if not all, of the section in the Catechism on Christian Prayer.

It's too bad because that's one of the best sections. I recommend you read it, if you have not already.

I reread it periodically. My current analysis: My prayer life has way too much petitioning, too little of thanksgiving and praise, just enough intercession and little to no blessing or adoration. If you don't know what I mean, read your Catechism stat!

My biggest prayer flaw: I went from never praying straight into praying but always asking for something. Then, feeling like the Lord is not always listening anyway. Why would I think that? Because I don't get what I want, silly. Sure, the Lord exists solely to give me what I want, right?

Sounds ridiculous does it not? Yet, how many of you out there do the same thing? I pray and I pray but the Lord does not answer my prayers. Yes, He did. The answer was no.

We don't always get what we want. Maybe we don't always know what is best for us, hmmm? Obviously, we don't have the perspective the Lord does. He can see our past, present and future simultaneously. I don't know about you, but I sure don't have that kind of vision.

How open am I to the Lord? How much do I trust in Him and put myself into His hands? My parish priest likes to say: "Not in my time, but yours Lord"

Think about that: "Not in my time, but yours Lord"

"Not in MY time, but YOURS Lord"

Isn't that just about one of the best prayers ever?

It's brief. It acknowledges God's power. It acknowledges our littleness in relation to God. It is submissive. It is not asking for anything. It accepts whatever and whenever the Lord wants to give.

Is it possible that the Lord has answered your prayer but did not give you exactly what you wanted?

For instance, I've been praying for a new job for quite a while because, among other problems, the work load is too much and they refused to hire more help. Do I have a new job? No. I've been having trouble even finding one to apply for.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, on January 2nd, my boss comes by and says he wants us to interview someone to help us. What?! Talk about a lighting bolt.

It occurred to me that perhaps I am not meant to find a new job but the Lord sees that I need help in my present one and He is lightening my burden. Thanks Be to God!

I am still working on my prayer life but I will tell you some things that have helped me:

* Subscription to Magnificat
* Prayer Cards
* Catholic Prayer Books (I have 2)
* Meditation books for Adoration (Come to Me in the Blessed Sacrament is my favorite)
* A standing hour of Eucharistic Adoration every week (more if you can)
* Regular Rosary recitation (I should pray it daily but I don't)
* Regular Bible reading
* Regular Catechism or Compendium reading
* Religious art in my home

Call me: Pray-er in Progress!


Blogger Angela Messenger said...

I use the formula ACTS to pray.

Supplication (now I can ask for what I need and want!)

January 14, 2007 11:38 AM  
Blogger Adoro Te Devote said...

I know what you mean about prayer, so throughout the day, I try to say little prayers like, "I love you, Jesus", especially when something terrible is happening. Over time, prayer is getting better, but it's a gradual change, and only by God's grace can we improve. He rewards the smallest efforts, if they are made sincerely, and sometimes even if they're not!

And about the job thing...yeah, there have been times when I've been on the edge of tears, I put my head down and BEG God for mercy, telling him it's too much! And ALWAYS, something happens to lighten the load. They are small blessings, but when it's like that, to have even ONE THING taken off my plate is a breath of fresh air!

January 14, 2007 11:51 AM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

Speaking as an, ahem, published author, ahem, well now and then I have appeared in print, that is a great post, Cathy, and if I were you, I'd look at it again, polish where you think necessary and dash it off to The Catholic Spirit or maybe the Catholic Servant. Both papers don't pay much (ROFL), but they do appreciate contributions.

That is a great post!

Adoro --- "especially when something terrible is happening"

I certainly would hope that you have many occasions to tell the Lord that you love Him. But I would hope that "terrible things" aren't happening very often, if at all.

January 14, 2007 12:52 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Ray: Remember: humility, always humility...

January 14, 2007 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes when we pray, our endless petitions are what the Holy Spirit inspires - it is God's way of forming us. Especially for spiritual graces...we need to ask for these graces, and God is pleased that we depend upon Him. He is so pleased we turn to Him. He hears every prayer, although He choses when to grant us the grace - usually when we are ready for it.
The best prayer is always to remain in His presence...even if it is by asking for something at every step.

January 14, 2007 11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the Liturgy of the Hours, the big 4 volume set the priests use. It's wonderful, but complicated and hard to get used to. I am thinking of that Magnificat thing, it seems more approachable.

May I recommend a very nice book called "The School of Prayer" by John Brook, ISBN 0-8146-2028-0, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN.

The "Pray as You Go" podcasts (available free through iTunes store) from the Jesuits are wonderful too. You can play them on your computer, or on an ipod or mp3 player.

Keep blogging about your prayer-life. I will too.

You are in the MSP area, eh? I used to go there a lot for work-related reasons. I love that area, it's my favourite part of the USA. The locals are culturally very much like Canadians, and you guys had that Wrestler guy as your Governor, until just a few years ago. Who is the new Tim dude, anyways? Not a wrestler. So not cool. :-)


January 16, 2007 11:36 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Warren: Thanks. I keep eyeballing the Liturgy of the Hours set at Leaflet Missal Co. Eventually, I'll buy it.

January 17, 2007 7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great post on Catholic prayer. I would add one thing to your list of things that make for a good prayer life: I often find myself simply "in awe" of God. I start with mental prayer, usually praise, thanksgiving and supplication, then I move into wonder and awe of God's creation and works. I'm no longer thinking words, but rather imagining Biblical figures and how God acted in thier lives, I imagine the wonder of the Angels as God created the world...and so on. I also imagine myself before the angels and saints in Heaven as I pray and that they pray with me. Anyway, just my not-very-noteworthy thoughts.

ALSO: Interior life is greatly deepened by lively devotion to Mary's Sorrows!!

January 17, 2007 11:48 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Sanctus Belle: Great handle!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I meditate upon the 7 Sorrows of Mary about once/year. I should try doing it more often and see what happens.

January 17, 2007 2:14 PM  

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