2. GETTING CONNECTED WITH GOD “THE ART OF PRAYER”
2.1 THE WHY
Listen to St Peter of Alacantra from the 16th century…
The soul is purified from its sins,
Nourished with charity (love)
Confirmed in faith
Strengthened in hope
The mind expands
The affections( for God and others) grow
The heart is purified
The truth becomes evident
Temptation is conquered
Sadness is dispelled
The senses are renovated
The drooping powers are revived
The rust of vices disappears…
To prayer heaven is opened
Heavenly secrets are manifested
And the ear of God is ever attentive.
… and you thought your local gym was good value!
2.2 THE HOW
We need to be taught to pray authentically, beyond the repetition of rote prayers (as good as they may be).
You could never sustain a marriage/deepening friendship by simple standardised conversation… imagine using the same short 4 standard answers to your wife all the time…
If you are attempting this for the first time, or need to restart, it helps to begin with a simple method like the one you will find in the excellent resource (on DVD or in book form) below.
If you use the method 20 mins will fly by! Particularly if you include the readings of the day and journal as we did on the initial weekend and as you could/should with a group of men on a regular basis . Again there is no better help than a small group with whom you share regularly and who remind you to pray.
There are many good books on prayer , start with a practical how to as per the one below.
Personal Prayer | Bruce Downes
Prayer is being present to God’s presence. It is words and yet it is more than words. It is a feeling but yet it is even more than a feeling. Prayer is a search for truth.
Prayer is saying to God here I am. Prayer is saying, I need you. Touch me, form me, direct me, guide me, love me. Prayer is listening, hearing, receiving…
Buy the: Book $19.95 DVD $9.95
Prayer | Phillip Yancy
Philip Yancey probes the very heartbeat the most fundamental, challenging, perplexing, and deeply rewarding aspect of our relationship with God: prayer. What is prayer? Does it change God mind or ours or both? This book is addresses some of the key questions about prayer.
Watch and Pray | Edited by Lorraine Kisley
From John Chrysostom in the fourth century to Teresa of Avila in the sixteenth to William Butler Yeats in the twentieth, this wide-ranging collection is a treasury of writings on prayer from throughout the history of Christianity. Lorraine Kisly has arranged the material according to the great general themes of prayersuch as praise, thanksgiving, repentance, and purificationto make this anthology serve as a course in Christian prayer for anyone, as well as a marvellous companion for the contemplative journey in general. If this book is read truly, says Bishop Seraphim Sigrist, in his introduction, the reader will surely find the beginning of prayer itself, and this is to open another book with no end at all.
Use these to help get familiar with scripture and reflection but do not substitute this for prayer… or your own reflection.
2.3 THE WHAT
What is prayer again in essence? Conversation with God you and him face to face, personal.
So that God becomes a friend, someone you can talk to about everything and from whom you can get answers and help… and you come away nourished, centred, inspired, refreshed…
It involves praise, thanks, asking (intercession) but always heart to heart…
As prayer deepens it becomes simply being present to The Presence.
We move from discursive prayer to contemplative prayer, it becomes stiller… a loving gaze, fewer words.
We need some extra guidance here, a retreat on contemplative prayer and/or spiritual direction will be very useful. See http://www.cis.jesuit.org.au/program.html, or you local diocese for these…
2.4 THE WHEN
Prayer time should = Prime time = When you are fresh and alert
- Start small get bigger/longer 10 to 20 mins is a suggested minimum start.
- Commit this time each day!
- Find a quiet, regular space free of interruptions, and build a habit, if you don’t have one, for 30 days in a row.
- Learn a method and practice it, like fishing, golf or footy it is a practical art, learnt on the paddock not a theory.
- Prayer will always challenge and reward you! It’s THE art of living and you will learn from it all your life…
Want more? >> Click here for an excellent article by Ronald Rolheiser called Maturity in Relationships and Prayer“.