4 Part IV: Prayer
is the personal and living relationship of the children of God with
their Father who is infinitely good, with his Son Jesus Christ, and
with the Holy Spirit (who dwells in their hearts). It is very important
to keep God as the center of our lives; not friends, not family, not
jobs and not other stuff. To do this we must talk to God and spend time
with him. We must
listen for what God is telling us. This is prayer.
is a form of communication, a way of talking to God and putting
ourselves in his presence. We each hear God's voice in our own way
because he knows each of us and speaks in ways that we can hear him. We
hear God with our hearts and our souls. God's voice is an
impression, a knowing that calls us in a certain direction.
with God, remaining quiet with God allows this to happen, it allows us
to understand what God wants us to do. If we are quiet when we pray, we
can sometimes hear God talking back to
us. If we are careful in watching what happens after we prayer, we can
see God answering our prayers through things that happen such as:
We can pray ourselves, or ask others, including the saints, to pray for
us. In any case, we should set time aside every day to communicate with
God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- our parents saying or doing things that help answer the
- our friends saying or doing things that help answer the
- something in nature that answers the prayer
- other people acting in a way that answers our prayer
Forms of Prayer
like we have different kinds of conversations with people, not all
prayers are the same. Here are brief descriptions of five forms of
prayers of adoration, we
acknowledge how much we need God. It exalts the greatness of the Lord
who made us and the almighty power of our savior who has freed us from
evil. The mass and the other works
(liturgies) of the Church are full of prayers of this sort, such as the
Glory to God).
Among private prayers, the Act
Faith is a
prayer of adoration.
Prayers of love or charity are just that—expressions of our love for
God, the source and object of all love. The Act
of Charity is an example of a prayer of love.
of petition are the type of prayer we are most familiar with. In them,
we ask God for things we need - primarily spiritual needs, but physical
ones as well. Our prayers of petition should always include a statement
of our willingness to accept God's will, whether he directly answers
our prayer or not. The Our
is a good example of a prayer of
petition, and the line "Thy will
be done" shows that God's plans for us
are more important than what we desire.
One type of petition is a prayer of expiation or contrition, we ask God
for his forgiveness of
our sins and ask for his mercy. The Penitential Rite at the beginning
of mass, and the Agnus Dei (or Lamb of God) before Communion, are
prayers of expiation, as is the Act
of Contrition which
is said during
the Sacrament of
or other times.
prayer is a type of
prayer that is made on behalf of someone else. God desires us to take
care of one another, both physically and in prayer. We often ask others
to pray on our behalf as well. This could be asking Jesus to mediate
with God the Father for
us. Or it could be Mary or one of the saints or even another person
that we know. The prayer
faithful during mass is intercessory,
asking all the people there and in the whole Church to pray for the
This type of prayer gives thanks to God for all that he has done for
us. As Saint Paul says, "Give
thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ
Jesus for you." While
is a good example of a prayer of thanksgiving, we
should get into the habit of thanking God throughout the day for the
good things that happen to us and to others and just for our mere
existence. The Eucharistic
mass is a prayer of thanksgiving.
type of prayer has at its base recognizing that God is God. We give
him all glory and honor because he is God. The Gloria and Holy, Holy
(Sanctus) during mass are examples of this prayer.
4.3 Expressions of
important part of prayer is committing time to God. There are many ways
that we can do this. We can say our prayers out loud or quietly. We can
read the Bible and think about its meaning for our lives. We can sit
and just be in the presence of God.
prayer combines our body and our spirit and the desires of our
heart. We express these in words, often praying them aloud. Because it
is external, these prayers can easily be prayed with groups. These
prayers are often prayers that we have learned such as the Our Father or other prayers
makes use of our imagination, thought, emotions and desire. We seek to
understand the why and the how of Christian life. Often, this
is accomplished by having an object or the Bible or the like as a
source of inspiration and the person praying then uses imagination, etc
to place themselves more into the presence of God, Father, Son or Holy
Spirit. For instance, you could read about the birth of our Lord
in Bethlehem and imagine yourself as a shepherd or the innkeeper and what this might mean to you and what God has done for you.
is a great example of meditation. Each decade offers a chance to
meditate on one of the Mysteries
of our faith.
the simplest expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gift from
grace that is given to those in a covenant relationship with him that
can be accepted only in humility and poverty. In such prayer the Holy
man, the image of God, "to his likeness." Contemplative prayer is
a very intense time of prayer. The Father strengthens our inner being
with power through his
Spirit "that Christ may dwell in
[our] hearts through faith" and we may be "grounded in love." Eph 3:16-17. Saint Teresa of
Avila says about it, "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 know loves us."
4.4 The Lord’s Prayer
was asked by the apostles
to teach them to pray. His response was to
teach them the Lord’s Prayer, or Our Father. Because Jesus taught it to
us, it is an excellent prayer to say at any time. Here are the words:
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
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
does it Mean
In this section, we will
go through the Our Father, line by line, and
discuss its meaning.
Father Who Art in Heaven
tells us to call God, “Our Father.” God is not some remote being that
barely cares for us or pays little attention to us. He is Our Father.
How much more than our human fathers will he care for us? He is our
dad, our daddy, our papa! The Father is in heaven
where we wish to
join him. The saints and angels are there and praising him. Since
heaven is being with God, when we are living his will here on earth, we
already are starting to be in heaven. Notice we don’t say “My Father!”
We are praying this prayer with everyone else and for everyone else in
be thy Name
“You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain.” Hallowed
means holy. God is holy, his name is holy. God has allowed us to know
his name because he wants us to have a close relationship with him (he
is our Father). We must always respect his name. By respecting God’s
name, we respect God.
made the Church, God’s kingdom on earth. We pray for the final
completion of his kingdom, where we will join with the angels and
saints of heaven.
We also pray for ourselves to become more holy, that
we may live the Beatitudes,
so that we will perfect God's kingdom on Earth and join the Kingdom of
God in heaven.
Will be done On Earth as it is in Heaven
God’s will is the most important thing we can do. We pray that we and
all others do God’s will here on earth. His will is already perfectly
done in heaven.
We pray that his will be done more perfectly here on
earth like it is in heaven. By praying, we ask for God’s help in this,
that we don’t sin by doing our own will, acting contrary to God.
us this Day our Daily bread
ask that God meet our daily needs, for food, for water for everything.
But we ask only for our daily needs, we wish for God’s abundance to be
shared generously with all. However,
man does not live by bread alone, but by every word from the mouth of
God” Mat 4:4
"unless you eat the flesh of the
Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you"
Thus, we also ask for the Bread of Life, Holy Communion,
and to have
of God to supply our spirits with food.
Forgive us our Trespasses, as we Forgive those who Trespass against us
told us that if we ask for forgiveness
from our sins,
God, in his
will forgive us. However, he also told us that God forgives us only if
we also forgive others. God’s mercy
cannot be outdone by our own mercy
to others, but we need to show others mercy. Since it is hard to
forgive sometimes, we offer our hearts to the Holy Spirit, so that we
can be filled with the ability to forgive.
lead us not into temptation
ask the Father to be with us always, especially in the presence of
temptation to sin. We ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand what a
test to strengthen us is and what a temptation to sin that we should
deliver us from evil
here is Satan,
Jesus has defeated the devil by the cross,
but we pray that we and all of humanity be freed from Satan’s works,
his evil. Because we have free will, we can choose evil, so we pray that God
gives us the grace to avoid sin.
So be it – let all things happen according to God’s will. We ask for
these things, but “Thy Will be