In this afternoon’s breakout session on prayer, Fr. Crisman shared about God’s desire to have a personal relationship with each of us. Many today are paralyzed in prayer. Perhaps it’s our lack of trust that God really wants to – and will – communicate himself personally to us in prayer leads us to fill the time of silence with words or actions. Maybe we’re afraid of failure. Or maybe still, we feel that we have something to earn, or prove to God. All of these impede our ability to pray, but, even worse, they reveal that we really don’t know what prayer is in the first place.
“Prayer is not fundamentally a thing that we do, but it’s encountering a person.”
We can get caught up in the intricacies of prayer, but in actuality, prayer is not an intellectual exercise but rather, a surge of the heart.
To combat this prayer paralysis, Fr. Crisman shared some practical tips with us:
3 Aspects of Genuine Prayer
Prayer is a response to the presence of God, so we need to:
- Focus on God
- Pay attention to what He wants
- Communicate with Him
In communication, we must be active and receptive, speak and listen.
4 interior habits of prayer: ARRR
When we pray, we must speak like a pirate: “ARRR” (get it?!). Keep reading and you will…
To help us to grow in intimacy with the Lord we need to learn to
- Acknowledge: Notice our thoughts, feelings, and desires.
- Relate: Communicate those to God. He is near, He hears me, He loves me, He is interested in my life, and He will respond.
- Receive: This is a passive exercise, and not necessarily so easy for us to do. Be aware of a sense of peace, consoling memories, the love we feel from family, consolation from sacraments, and insights from words of Scripture.
- Respond: The gifts we receive from God then must be lived—interiorly (by affirmation, gratitude, and rest) and exteriorly (an active step in our faith, the choices we make, and our ability to be vulnerable).
There are so many forms of prayer, (Mass, The Liturgy of the Hours, Lectio Divina, Examen, singing, praise and worship, Mass readings, the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, Litanies – just to name a few!).
Lord, we acknowledge that we are not always good at prayer. We also know that we are your beloved children, with whom you desire relationship. We want to receive your perfect love and be filled with your Spirit. Free us from the temptation to misconstrue what prayer is, so that we may more fully appreciate your desire to know us, and allow you to embrace us. Always place on our minds the reminder of your love for us, so that we may live in a spirit of prayer and respond to your call. Amen.