Catholics and Prayer
Prayer is talking to God, it is also listening to God.
Prayer is spending time with God.
At its heart prayer is a relationship.
Prayer is being open to God.
Let’s have a look at the cartoons “Catholics and Prayer” on pages 48-49 of the book “How to Survive being Married to a Catholic”.
Perhaps we can add other descriptions of what prayer is.
Paul’s prayer from his letter to the Ephesians 3:14-21
This then is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural takes its name:
Out of His infinite glory, may He give you the power through His Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God.
Glory be to Him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine; glory be to Him from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.
Types of Prayer
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, from the first letter of Saint Paul to Timothy Ch2: vs 1
- Supplication – Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. Psalm 130 vs 1-2. Simply put this is a cry for mercy with a real sense of pouring yourself out before the Lord. “Teach me your way, LORD; lead me in a straight path.” Psalm 27 vs 11
- Prayers – we might think of all those set prayers which we like to use such as the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Glory be, and how these can be used as models to form our own prayers. This leads to worship which is the right relation between creature and creator.
- Intercessions – prayer for the community and for others, both at home and throughout the world. All those different situations that we can pray for and into.
- Thanksgiving and praise – thanking God for all he has done. Praise takes us out of ourselves and the narrowness of our own situations. It brings us close to God and all the blessings he has for us. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Psalm 150 vs 6.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Pauls letter to the Ephesians ch 1 vs 3.
How many blessings? All of them
You may have noticed that Psalms can take us very easily into prayer and are used in the daily prayers of the church. If you were to say a Psalm a day it would take you about 5 months to get through them as there are 150.
When our prayers don’t seem to be answered, we need to consider that “No” is also an answer. It may mean that our prayer is at odds with the will of God and then we need to ask the Lord to teach us and show us his will. We need to trust him.
Romans 8: 28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
From the “Penny Catechism”
- Who made you? God made me.
- Why did God make you? God made me to know him, love him and serve him in this world, and to be happy with him for ever in the next.
What does God want from us?
Micah 6: 8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.”
We have a measure of God’s will for us and so we can walk in it and pray in it.
In any situation it may seem that our prayers are such a little thing but we have to remember that we have a Great and Mighty God. Prayer is both the least we can do and the greatest thing we can do.
St Paul tells us;
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians ch 6 vs 12.
We can be “Prayer Warriors” adding our prayers to the mix for;
We are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Paul’s letter to the Romans ch 8 vs 37.
“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” From the poem Morte D’Arthur by Alfred Tennyson.
Time for another song from you tube
To God be the glory by Fanny Crosby