How do you pray?
Bro. Alvin Barcelona, The Feast Bay Area District Builder shared during the ‘Deeper’ Holy Week Retreat 2018 the importance of praying from the heart.
To have a relationship with God, we have to keep in constant communication with Him through prayer.
Remember, when you pray, let your prayers spring from the heart. There is no need to scour for words. Words flow naturally when you pray from the heart.
When feelings of loving devotion arise from the heart, it will nourish your soul.
Fr. David J. Dohogne shared that as Catholics, we are well aware of the importance and necessity of daily prayer in order to maintain a strong and healthy relationship with the Lord.
The Church reminds us that there are different types of prayer which we offer to God.
These are namely prayer of praise (thanking and glorifying God), prayer of petition (seeking something from God), prayer of contrition (seeking forgiveness from God), and prayer of intercession (seeking God’s blessings on behalf of another person).
A healthy “balanced” prayer life would include each of these types of prayer.
Be excited about your daily times of prayer! Following the example of Jesus and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, may the words of our prayers be real, sincere, and truly come from the heart and not just from our lips!
Bro. Alvin shared during the retreat that all thoughts and feelings are valid material for prayer.
Simply put: When you go to pray, lift up what’s inside of you at that moment. If you are bored, lift up that boredom; if you are angry, lift up your anger; if you are tired, lift up that tiredness; if you feel selfish, don’t be afraid to let God see that.
Jesus said that we must become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. One of the qualities in children to which this refers is precisely their honesty in showing their feelings.
Children don’t hide their sulks, pouts, and tantrums. A good mother handles these rather easily, often with a smile. God is up to the task.
If we do that, it makes it easier for us to “pray always”, as scripture asks. What does this mean?
Obviously it doesn’t mean that we should always be at formal prayer, that we should strive to be full-time contemplatives, or even that we should seize every possible occasion we can to pray formally.
To “pray always” invites us rather to live our lives against a certain horizon. It doesn’t necessarily mean to stop work and go to formal prayer, important though that is at times.
The point is rather that we need to do everything within the context of a certain awareness, like a married man who goes on a business trip and who, in the midst of a demanding schedule of meetings and social engagements, is somehow always anchored in a certain consciousness that he has a spouse and children at home.
Despite distance and various preoccupations, he knows that he is “married always”. That awareness, more than the occasional explicit phone call home, is what keeps him anchored in his most important relationship.
Our relationship with God is the same. We need to “pray always” by doing everything out of that kind of awareness.
Let us offer everthing to Him and pray from the heart.