Here’s something about me that’s not a big secret: I’m Catholic and I love it! I love the peace it brings me. I love its fullness. I love the challenge. I love the power of prayer. My blog is even named after my favorite Proverb. But, even though I consider myself to be faithful, my religious life often lacks, particularly when I forget to pray. Can you relate? Is your prayer life suffering? Is it non-existent? Take the month of April to rejuvenate your relationship (or start one) with God along with me. Here I have outlined 30 types of prayer; try a new one each day this month!
- ACTS: This is perhaps the most familiar type of prayer. (A)doration, (C)onfession, (T)hanksgiving, (S)upplication. Adore God just for being who He is. Confess anything in your life you feel you could improve on. Thank God for your blessings. Supplicate God, or in other words, ask Him for what you need.
- Icons: Find a religious image that speaks to you and quietly study it. Ask yourself questions about the image. Meditate on the overall picture as well as the details. Pay attention to where your mind goes. Answers and ideas may be gifted to you. Try this one.
- Redemptive Suffering: This is one of my favorite types of prayer. Today, any time you find yourself suffering, whether it be a serious illness or an annoying traffic jam, offer it up to the Lord for an intention that is important to you. For example, after Ellen was born, any postpartum pain I had I offered up as a prayer for her well-being. Jesus suffered on the cross for our salvation, and we can suffer for the good of others as well.
- Fasting: Fasting can mean completely abstaining from food for a period of time, abstaining from certain foods at certain times, or, it can mean abstaining from anything at all for any period of time. But, it is done in the name of an intention. Often, when there is something I feel strongly about, I like to sacrifice something as prayer. Each time I am reminded of my sacrifice, I offer up a prayer for my intention to fill the void. Try giving up something small today like snacking or TV.
- Liturgy of the Hours: We are called to “pray without ceasing”, and this type of prayer does just that. When you pray the Liturgy of the Hours, there is a different prayer for every hour of the day. It is the official prayer of the Catholic Church. I’m going to go ahead and assume that you might not have the time to do this today, but there is a takeaway from this: put aside time today to say a prayer every hour. This can be a quick “thank you” or it can be a special intention. Just try to bring God into your life every hour you’re awake today.
- Rosary: This is one of the most powerful prayer of our Church. For directions on how to pray it, visit here. Pray one today. If you don’t have time, try praying a “Mother’s Rosary”: pray a decade at a time throughout the day until you finish it. You can do this in between diaper changes, grocery runs and baths.
- Novenas: A novena is a prayer that is prayed each day for nine days. There are novenas for any need you may have: safe travels, marriage, cancer, job security…you name it. Here is a novena for any necessity.
- Mass: This is the ultimate form of prayer. It combines all other types of prayer in a community setting. Go to Mass today. Even if you haven’t been in a while, go with an open mind. Challenge yourself to take away one idea and apply it to your life.
- Intercessory: This type of prayer is simply praying on behalf of others. So often people say they will pray for one another. We need to make sure that when we say we will pray for someone, we actually do! Think of someone who could use a prayer, and set aside time to pray for him or her today. You could even let them know you did so.
- Learn a New Prayer: Hail, Holy Queen
- Song: If you can speak a prayer, you can most certainly sing one. Pray a psalm today or listen to one of my favorite Christian songs.
- Bible Study Group: I love going to Bible studies. Look into joining one at your own church. Today, try this one. It comes from this book, which I think looks wonderful!
- Pray in Color: This is one of the coolest types of prayer I have discovered. Instead of trying to explain it, go here and read about it. For those of you who like to “do” while you pray, this is for you!
- Listening: Have you ever tried to completely clear your mind and just listen? It’s so hard, isn’t it? Today, set aside a bit of time, maybe just two minutes, and try to clear your head. Listen to what God might be saying to you. I have a hard time with this one.
- Lectio Divina Bible Reading: This is simply taking a small piece of Scripture, reading it, and then contemplating it.
- Marian Minute: I love this site. Spend one uninterrupted minute with the Mother of God. This site will make sure you aren’t distracted!
- Chaplets: A chaplet is similar to a Rosary in that it is prayed on beads. The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy is prayed on actual Rosary beads, while other chaplets have their own set of beads.
- Charity; Random acts of Kindness: Do one thing for someone today that will make their lives easier and happier. It’s best if you don’t let anyone know. It’s a little secret between you and God.
- Stand Up: There is so much controversy and hatred pointed at the Church these days. Between HHS, abortion and other government mandates this election year, it is hard to hold a conversation with a friend without stepping on toes. Consider ways you can stand up for God’s will without being mean, argumentative or poisonous. How can you stand firm in your beliefs without getting into an argument?
- Group Prayer: Jesus said that wherever two or more are gathered, He is also there. Call a friend today and say a quick prayer. I know this can be really hard, but imagine if you were that friend. How weird would you think that is? I would love it.
- Daily Devotions: Mike reads this book every morning over his Cheerios. I like to receive daily prayer in my inbox. Consider signing up for these one-minute meditations from American Catholic. Honestly, they take more like 15 seconds
- Twitter Prayers: Did you know you can sign up for prayer tweets? You can tweet your intentions while praying for others. Sign up here.
- Arrow Prayers: This might be my favorite way to pray. Arrow prayers are short intentions and thank yous that you send up like arrows to God throughout the day. As you think about something or need something, just send up your thought to God. It is a great way to become aware of God’s presence throughout your entire day. He suddenly becomes present in everything you see, do and say.
- Learn a new prayer: Prayer to St. Michael
- Prayer Walk: Today, go for a walk around town, and pray. You can also do this while you walk around the office, run errands or any other activity. All you need to do is pay attention to people you see, businesses near by, traffic, nature and anything else you see. Say random prayers throughout the day for people, places and things. Think of what they might need, and say a prayer.
- Prayer Board: Set up a prayer board in your home. This could be a dry erase board on the fridge, post it notes on the counter, a piece of lined paper, or, our favorite, window markers on our bathroom mirror. Write intentions and names of people you want you or your family to pray for each day.
- Study the Lives of Saints: Saints were not extraordinary people. Actually, sometimes they were down-right rotten people whose hearts God changed. They were often a lot like you and me. Find a Saint and read his or her story.
- Learn a New Prayer: Act of Contrition
- Retreat: We can’t all take vacation time to go on a retreat. And, I don’t know if I could ever do a silent one. I might get kicked out. You’ve seen me talk on this blog! But, a retreat doesn’t need to last days; you could take a mini one! Set aside a couple of hours for yourself. Grab a computer, and go to Catholic Mom. Spend some guilt-free time surfing around the site, reading articles and refreshing your resolve to raise your family to be faithful.
- Prayer Journal: Now that you are well versed in prayer (har har), start a prayer journal. Record a sentence, a paragraph or a novel each day. Be sure to date it. Take a look back once in a while to see how your prayers have been answered. So often we pray fervently, but we forget to look for the answers.
Finally, if you’re so inclined, follow along with my Gospel Reflections from St. Francis Church in Ann Arbor, MI. I post them *most* Sundays for you to contemplate. They are quick and rich!
Keep me updated on how your prayer life is going. Use the comment section below. Also, if you have another type of prayer you enjoy, please share with us! God Bless!
Copyright 2012 Jenna Hines