WHAT IS PRAYING?
It is essentially the time we spend being conscious of being in the presence of God, and of desiring to know and love Him more each time.
Ideally we shall discover something afresh about our beautiful Trinitarian God each day of our lives.
If we can see praying as not only something we set aside a particular time for each day but as something we can do as we work, run, eat, converse, wait for appointments and yes, even sleep then God will be our constant companion. We then shall be able to turn to Him so easily when we most need Him in those most difficult and discerning moments.
Although we can pray at any time, there are two times that are very important in our Christian journey: the first is the first thing we do on awakening. We commend ourselves into God’s care for the day and ask Him to teach us and show us what His will is for us and to give us His grace to do it, and we thank God for the rest of the night. The second is at the end of the day when we view the day, thanking God for it, confessing our failures and sins, forgiving any injury to us, and commending ourselves into His and the angels’ care for the night.
When we join our fellow Christians to celebrate and offer up the Mass. Our time in church should always be prayerful – in preparation to receive the Sacrament and then to enter into the drama of the Mass. It certainly is not the time to catch up on news. Before leaving we make sure we have said thank you for receiving the Sacrament and to be conscious that as we have received our Blessed Lord, we should act as He would always.
Those times we come together for special prayer such as the Week for Christian Unity.
In many parishes the faithful gather to pray the Daily Offices.
This consists of various kinds of prayers
PRAISE – when our hearts are full of joy and love for God and His abundant bounty.
THANKSGIVING – when our hearts are full of appreciation for God and His immeasurable gifts of love and goodness, often from others.
CONFESSION – when our hearts are full of contrition for our sins against God, our fellow sisters and brothers, and even against ourselves.
INTERCESSION – when our hearts are full of concern about the plight and need of others.
PETITION – when our hearts are full of concern for our own situation.
This kind of prayer allows us to listen to God, to be conscious of God within and in a sense just soak in God. It is indeed a very precious time, and without it we do not make much progress in our prayer life. So it is something we should do each day. Many find the best time is early in the morning when the world is still relatively quiet, and the bustle of the day’s routine is still in the future. When we first begin silent prayer or contemplation as it is called, it is best to practice it in the context of saying the Morning Office, or our Morning Prayer or Meditation. It is also helpful to have some helpful eye contact such as a crucifix, statue or icon – this helps to keep us focus when our mind wanders. When we first begin, do it for a few minutes and as you grow in this practice you will want to spend much more time, even more which is practical for daily commitments. So we learn to snatch a few moments in between those commitments to be quiet and lift up our hearts to our loving God.