How do I Pray?
In the last Veritas blog we looked at what happens if you are praying but you just can’t seem to feel God. But perhaps we should talk about, well, how do you even pray in the first place? Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a clearcut option or recipe for prayer.
At first I thought that would just be a million times easier. If there was just some 5 step manual you get given at your baptism and then you’re good.You know exactly what to do. But then I figured that it would be hard for everyone to pray the exact same way. Image if the only way to pray was to read the Bible or the Catechism or something. All the people (like me) that hate reading heaps would just never pray! Similarly, if the only way to pray was to sing or play music, then what about all those people who aren’t musical (also like me)? So as you can see, my options are running out fast. I think this is why the Church has the many traditions that it does, they all come out of different ways of praying. And so this is my first tip on how to pray:
1) Know your style.
God is personal. He isn’t going to make you sit in silence for two hours every day if He knows that isn’t your thing. Think about the times that you’ve felt close to God. If you can’t think of any, think about the times you’ve felt at peace or joyful when thinking about God. Chances are, your preferred prayer style is very near by.
I think that can be the hardest part but there are a few other things you should be aware of...
2) Be honest: Know who you are and who God is.
Prayer is about honesty. Yes, we are approaching God and spending time with Him in prayer but acknowledging that God is God and that I am not is the mentality that actually brings us closer to Him and has a powerful impact on breaking bad habits in our life. This is because when we remember and actually commit ourselves to that truth- that God is God and that He loves us- we can really intrust a lot to him in prayer.
3) Be open and listen
This one sucks. How do you know if you are actually listening to God and being open? It’s pretty hard to tell sometimes but it is important to give God a chance to reply. Maybe He won’t have a lot to say or maybe He will say something gently but it is our job to be open and ready for any sort of reply. Don’t put God in a box and stifle His desire to surprise you.
So hopefully that helps! The biggest key is to just keep at it. Some weeks it’ll be easy and some weeks it’ll just be the worst. But just keep coming back, God always wants you to so that’s a pretty good reason to stick in there.