7.13.2009

In Praise of Prayer

I have found, as a mom, spending time in prayer can be a challenge. It is hard for me to concentrate and my prayers are very repetitious (not to mention the lack of extended quiet time). I was reading in The Family Cloister about the Benedictine monks and there devotion to the Psalms. The author of The Family Cloister recommends praying the Psalms every morning and he even divided the Psalms up in such a way as to get through them once a month.

Psalms are the oldest pre-written prayers of our faith. They were the prayers that Jesus learned and memorized as was the common practice. They were the prayers of the Jewish faith for many years before Christ. They are also the first prayers I learned as a child, along with some of the prayers from my Catholic tradition.

These pre-written prayers are very helpful to me now. I have a few prayer books strewn around the house and will pick them up here and there to pray. Most of these prayer books have some of the most loved Psalms, traditional Catholic prayers, prayers from the Mass, prayers that Saints have written, etc. In the preface of one of these prayerbooks titled, My Pocket Prayer Book, Rev. Lawrence G. Lovasik wrote the following:

"There are innumerable ways in which to pray and many methods of prayer. One of the greatest helps to prayer...is a book of prayers. It puts at our fingertips a precious treasury of words by which we can approach God every day.

Prayers of this type...convey a deeper knowledge and understanding of the Church's teaching. In a subtle and unobtrusive fashion they teach the Faith while allowing us to approach God. By using them we not only come closer to God but also get to know Him better with every passing day.

It goes without saying that we can also pray in our words instead of words found on a printed page--and indeed we must do so. However, readymade prayers are there for those times when we do not know what to say and need help in speaking to God. We need the help of past ages as well as present trends to say what we feel and what we should feel."

It doesn't matter if we have been praying for a lifetime or are just beginning, these "readymade" prayers are like stepping stones that lead us to God and help us as we struggle through this life.

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