November 11, 2009

Focusing in Prayer

For the last two months, I've been posting off and on about prayer. I've asked you to try lectio divina, the rosary or divine office, and prayer in your own words. Once you've found a method or two that works well for you, the trick is sticking with it. The world conspires to give us so many "important" things to do that prayer goes by the wayside.

You have a lifetime to practice and grow, and an eternity to praise God in His presence; don't let any slow-going now discourage you. At the same time, don't let slow-going become not-going.

Father Bartunek has suggested a few things we can do the night before to prepare for tomorrow's prayer:
  • gather your materials into one place: crucifix, Bible, book of meditations, whatever you use
  • jot down key points for tomorrow's meditation
    • where did you leave off today?
    • who or what would you like to pray about tomorrow?
    • what virtue will your meditation focus on?
I would add to this something perhaps too obvious - make time. Does it need to be said that God deserves our time? God, in fact, created time, so it's His to begin with. Our time is simply loaned to us. Start small and give a few minutes each day - first thing in the morning, right before bed, when you take your lunch break - and give them to God in prayer.

Father Serpa reminds us that "God is not that big vending machine in the sky that will release the goods if we know just how to appease him." A certain prayer formula or method is a tool to help us communicate more easily, not a purchase order to get what we want. Prayer is about "acknowledging our complete dependence on him—and willingly accepting whatever and however he chooses to respond...a matter of loving trust and absolutely nothing else." Setting aside time and properly preparing will help keep the focus where it belongs - on God.

Bartunek, John. "How can I better prepare for prayer and meditation?" Available from Internet; accessed 10 Nov 2009.

Serpa, Vincent. "Quick Questions." Available from Internet; accessed 7 Oct 2009.

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