Prayer is awakening to the presence of God in our lives. In prayer, we enter into an on-going conversation with God. And from the perspective of our Christian tradition, we grow in the experience of the Mystery of the Trinity. We come to trust that God will hear our prayer and respond.
There are various forms of prayer, and each of us needs to strive to discover the particular prayer form or forms that bring us closest to the experience of God in our lives. Remember, prayer is a conversation, so we must learn to listen to God. There is always the temptation for prayer to become a monologue rather than a dialogue. We should resist that because in a two-way conversation, we can hear our call, discover the reason for our being created, and understand our talents and gifts, and our purpose for our having them. But most importantly, we can come to appreciate that “we are the Beloved of God.”
The origins of prayer can be traced back to antiquity as humans sought the answers to two basic questions: “Who am I, God?” and "Who are You, God?” Francis of Assisi spent his life pursuing these questions.
Jesus, of course, is our ultimate model for prayer, and the Gospels reveal His prayer habits and the prayers he invoked. We also believe that Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit who is constantly with us and inspires us to pray, listen to the scriptures, and search for the Trinity that dwells within us.
Over the centuries, gifted people, filled with the spirit, have shared other forms of prayer with us. Our lives can be greatly enriched by embracing them.
Samples of Prayer Types
- Pray All Ways by Edward Hays (Ave Maria Press, 1981, 2007)
- Prayers for the Domestic Church by Edward Hays (Ave Maria Press, 1979, 2007)
Consider the many opportunities available in parishes, small Christian communities, and local religious communities. Please share your thoughts on prayer retreats and sources for prayer with us.