When I pray I want it to be efficacious. When I pray I want to draw closer to God. When I pray I want to listen. When I pray I want to be heard. But how do I pray or better, how should I pray?
Since I’ve been a pray-er for some time now, let’s say close to forty-five years, I’ve noticed that as in life, the only constant in my prayer life is that it changes. Usually it changes according to what I is happening in my life. Now however, I am in the stage of life where I can make a plan and actually follow through on it, so I find my prayer life is much more regular than in the past.
The other difference is in the type of prayer. As I have grown up I understand better the need for silence in prayer and in being present without all the noise. According to Catherine of Siena in her Dialogue God tells us “vocal prayer will be of use to the soul who prays it, and pleasing to me. And from the imperfect vocal prayer, practiced with perseverance, the soul will arrive at perfect mental prayer.” There is no explanation of ”perfect mental prayer” but in my experience it happens when I am totally emptied myself and then feel as if I have been lifted up to feel God’s presence surrounding me, giving me peace and strength. Both vocal and mental prayer is necessary, vocal prayer helping us to get to mental prayer, “You see then, that perfect prayer is not arrived at through many words, but through affection of desire, when the soul raises itself to me, knowing itself and my mercy, seasoned the one with the other. Thus the soul will practice mental and vocal prayer together, for, even as the active and contemplative are one, so are they.” (Little Talks with God, translated by Henry L. Carrigan, Jr.)
On a practical level, prayer time first thing in the morning helps me set the tone for the day and whatever it brings to me. At night, ending the day by reflecting on it and sometimes praying Evening Prayer with my husband are also prefect endings to the day, no matter how imperfect it may have been.
Prayer helps me be a better person, keeps me close to God and reminds me of all the possibilities he has for me.
Copyright 2013 Deanna Bartalini