Introduction to Prayer
Prayer is in the intellect and the will (the heart). Embracing the love of truth (intellect) and a resolve and determination to grow in love (act of the will)
Always make the motive of your prayer LOVE.
“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.”
“For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”
“Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for Him.”
Prayer can become alive and vital when you experience it as a deep, personal relationship with God. In addition to words, prayer involves your mind and heart. It includes insights and affection, just like a good friendship.
You might experience insight, like a bright light bulb going off in your head. More often, when you raise your mind to God in prayer, your intellect is shaped so gradually and gently that you notice the change only over time, much like you come to appreciate the way a good friend or teacher has influenced your thinking, only years later.
Many may think of prayer as trying to get God to do your will.
But true prayer is trying to understand what God’s will is and do it.
Think Humility. Humility is the foundation of prayer.
Because prayer is a relationship, prayer is NOT:
- Just a bunch of memorized words or phrases, it must be from the heart.
- Make believe or therapy – don’t pray for the intent of relieving your conscience.
- A means of getting from God what we want.
- A sign of righteousness. Praying more than others doesn’t make us better than them.
- Seeking our will. “Thy will be done.” It is surrendering to God’s will.
- just talking, it is a responsive relationship. Do not do all the talking. How did you learn to speak English? By listening.
Keep your prayers fresh, praying out of inspiration of love.
In Prayer we are:
- Striving to remain united with God at every moment of our day.
- Having a conscious awareness of His presence.
- learning about ourselves. God reveals Himself to you, and you learn about yourself.
Prayer is a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God. Everyone is called to prayer because the desire for God is built into us.
“You cannot always depend on prayers to be answered the way you want them answered but you can always depend on God. God, the loving Father often denies us those things which in the end would prove harmful to us… Why should we think God is less wise? Someday we will thank God not only for what He gave us, but also for that which He refused.”
Prayer arises from our being made in God’s image. It is about being who God made us to be: people who desire to be in relationship with the One who called us into existence.
Everyone is called to prayer because the desire for God is built into us; it is a response to God who first and tirelessly calls us to encounter Him through prayer. In prayer, God reveals Himself to you, and you learn about yourself. This reciprocal call between God and humankind has been going on throughout the whole of salvation history. Prayer is a central way God has revealed Himself to humankind and shown us who we are.
PRAYER AS COVENANT, COMMUNION, AND GIFT
Whether prayer is expressed in words or gestures, it is the whole man who prays. In naming the source of prayer, Scripture speaks sometimes of the soul or the spirit, but most often of the heart (more than a thousand times). According to Scripture, it is the heart that prays.
The heart is the dwelling–place where I am, where I live; the heart is the place “to which I withdraw.” The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully.
“It is a great advantage for us to be able to consult someone who knows us, so that we may learn to know ourselves.”
“Prayer is to our soul what rain is to the soil. Fertilize the soil ever so richly, it will remain bar-ren unless fed by frequent rains.”
“He who fights even the smallest distractions faithfully when he says even the very small-est prayer will also be faithful in great things.”
The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant.
Christian prayer is a covenant relationship between God and man in Christ. It is the action of God and of man, springing forth from both the Holy Spirit and ourselves, wholly directed to the Father, in union with the human will of the Son of God made man.
Jesus emphasized that we should bring the correct attitude to our prayer. He taught that for our hearts to pray in faith, we must undergo conversion. We must reconcile with others, love our enemies, pray for our persecutors, pray for forgiveness, and make seeking the Kingdom of God our priority.
Mary as a Model of Prayer:
Mary, Mother of God (“Theotokos”). Mary acts as a Mother, and shows us our Father, through Christ her son and our Lord.
“Every Objection against devotion to Mary grows in the soil of an imperfect belief in the Son.”
Everything about Our Lady points straight back to the Father, Whose faithful daughter she is; to the Son, Whose faithful mother she is; and to the Holy Ghost, Who overshadowed her.
There is no one in all of History whose relationship with God is as complex, fulfilled, and achingly beautiful as Mary’s. In honoring her, we honor Him — and imitate Him.
THE ROSARY, BUT FIRST SOME CLARIFICATION ON PRAYER AND WORSHIP
First a definition: “To pray” as a verb, has two very distinct meanings:
1. to make a request in a humble manner
2. to address God or a god with adoration, confession, supplication, or thanksgiving
example: “I pray thee, sir, might I borrow your book?” or “Where have you been, pray tell?” (or in other words, to talk)
All worship in the sense of latria is God’s alone.
All grace comes from God alone. Only Christ can save us.
We “pray” to saints to ask them to pray for us, in the same way you might pray for me if I ask and I would pray for you if you ask. We are called to pray for each other. “Hail Mary … pray for us sinners“
(We honor and adore God, we honor and venerate the Saints. Latria, Hyperdulia and Dulia.)
dulia, hyperdulia, and latria:
Dulia is a Greek term meaning the veneration or homage, different in nature and degree from that given to God, that is paid to the saints. It includes, for example, honoring the saints and seeking their intercession with God.
Related to dulia is Hyperdulia, the special veneration accorded the Blessed Virgin Mary because of her unique role in the mystery of Redemption, her exceptional gifts of grace from God, and her pre eminence among the saints. Hyperdulia is not adoration; only God is adored.
Such adoration reserved exclusively for God is termed latria, a Greek-rooted Latin term that refers to that form of praise and worship due to God alone.
DOES IT “TAKE AWAY” FROM JESUS?
No. Love is infinite because God, Who is Love, is infinite!
We can love and adore Jesus, love and venerate Mary, love the other Saints, and love each other. (Don’t love less with more children or more friends.)
“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”