Back to Basics: Types of Prayer

We are going back to basics again and reminding ourselves about the different types of prayer that are available.

Back to Basics Types of Prayer

There are many ways to pray to suit our every need. There are some who prefer to pray with with others and those who like to pray alone. If you find that prayer is becoming “boring” or monotonous, maybe trying a different type of prayer will motivate you and “shake things up” a bit.

Vocal Prayer

This is the most common and used type of prayer. Vocal prayer is when we say the Hail Mary, Our Father, Glory Be, etc.

Vocal Prayer is also when we just speak from the heart. For the most part, Catholics aren’t great at spontaneous prayer (I’m not!) but we should work at this. Previously, I mentioned that prayer is a conversation with God and part of that is talking to God openly and spontaneously.

Aspirations

Aspirations are very short prayers, usually one word or sentence, that allow us to lift up our hearts to God briefly. “Jesus, I love You.” “Jesus, I trust in you.” “Jesus.” “Lord, have mercy.” “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I love you. Save souls and unborn children.” These are all examples of an aspiration.

Communal Prayer

Obviously, communal prayer is when two or more people come together to pray. For example: Going to Mass, celebrating the other Sacraments, prayer services, bible studies, spiritual direction, etc.

Private Prayer

As the name implies, private prayer is prayer that we do alone. 🙂 This can include vocal prayer, meditation, and/or contemplation.

Journaling

Yes, journaling can be prayer. In fact, having a prayer journal is a great way to deepen our prayer life. Rather than chronicling our day or stresses, etc., with prayer journaling, we write out our heart to God through freewriting or writing letters to God. Or, you can get creative and write God a poem, a song, draw him pictures, etc. It may make prayer something fun for you, too.

Spiritual Reading

My favorite type of spiritual reading is Lectio Divina, or praying the scriptures slowly and letting the words penetrate your heart.

However, there are many other books that can be read in a prayerful way, especially ones that offer meditations and reflections.

Meditation

Meditation is very similar to mental prayer. You take a small passage of scripture or spiritual concept (for example: heaven) and spend some time  quietly thinking about it. You take the place of a character (s) of the bible passage or you think deeply about the concept. (For example, what is heaven like? What does it mean to be with God in heaven, etc.)

This is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2705) describes Meditation:

Meditation is above all a quest. The mind seeks to understand the why and how of the Christian life, in order to adhere and respond to what the Lord is asking.”

Contemplation

With contemplation, which is often seen as similar to meditation, goes deeper. Whereas, with meditation there is thinking involved, but with contemplation, you “let go and let God.” You (try to) empty you minds and hearts of all that is not God and let Him love you and fill your soul.

Here is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2724) describes contemplation:

Contemplative prayer is the simple expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus, an attentiveness to the Word of God, a silent love. It achieves real union with the prayer of Christ to the extent that it makes us share in his mystery.

Normally, although God can do what He wants!, contemplation is an advanced form of prayer and comes forth from time spent in meditation and other forms of prayer.

Ultimately, prayer is all about God and our relationship with Him. There are those who never achieve deep meditation or contemplation and there are those who achieve an extremely deep prayer life within a short time. It boiled down to God’s grace and our willingness to respond to that grace.

Prayer is also a gift from God. Only the Holy Spirit can inspire us to pray, to help us to pray, and to be faithful with prayer. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to pray and gives us the ability to pray. Come Holy Spirit!

***********

REMINDER: I go live in my Facebook group every Monday at 10:35 am EDT and every Thursday at 1:30 pm EDT. I hope you will join me! Tomorrow I am going to talk about the obstacles to prayer and how to overcome them. DIFFERENT TIME: ABOUT 2:00 PM EDT. (My son has his homeschool book club and it may run late again.)

PSST: If you are looking for accountability or focused encouragement in growing your spiritual life, I am here to help. Supporting and empowering women is my passion and I’d love to chat with you and see if we would be a fit for working together. Book a call with me here.

Back to Basics: Silence

Out of the Mouth of Babes

I will never forget the day Andrew “shh-ed” everyone in Church. 🙂 He was four or five-years-old at the time and we were still living in Ohio. We had come back to New Jersey for a visit and were in Church for a First Holy Communion.

While waiting for Mass to begin, a lot of people, including some family members behind us, were talking. Hearing the chatter, a person would think that there was a party going on, rather than a Church service about to begin. All of a sudden, Andrew stands up, turns around, and says,

“Shhh! We are in Church!”

Then he turned and sat down.

The people sitting around us were quiet for a moment and then began giggling and talking about how cute and funny Andrew was for what he said. It was adorable and cute, however, I think they missed the point.

Ding, Ding, Ding

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m NOT condemning anyone, or saying that it is wrong to talk in Church, or that we should go back to the days of absolute silence in Church. I’m just as guilty as everyone else when it comes to talking in Church sometimes.

However, have you noticed just how LOUD our world has become, both literally and metaphorically? We are constantly bombarded with TV, radio, social media, news, and other noises. So much so, in fact, that we don’t even take some time before the Sacred Liturgy to compose ourselves and prepare our hearts for meeting the Lord. On top of that, we also live very busy lives running here and there, taking care of family, and fulfilling our many obligations. These are all great things but when we talk, talk, talk, and go, go, go, it becomes impossible to listen. More importantly, it becomes almost impossible to hear God speak to us.

God WANTS to speak to us. He wants to heal us and minister to us but He can’t do that if we don’t take the time to settle down and tune in and listen for His voice. More than that, we NEED to spend time in silence in order to recharge our batteries and fill up our souls. We all know the saying, “we can’t give what we don’t have.” If we don’t take the time to fill our souls, listening to God in the silence of our hearts, we will burn out.

Prerequisite for Prayer

That’s why I really want to encourage you to find a way to make time for silence. Believe me, I know you are busy, but if you can get up even 15 minutes earlier to spend in silence (and prayer), I guarantee it will make a difference in your life.

Ultimately, we need silence in order to be successful with prayer. Sure, it is possible to pray when there is noise. We are called to pray at all times and, naturally, most of the time there will be some sort of background noise; however, it is absolutely essential to regularly block out some time for silent prayer. I strongly encourage you to consider to take up the battle for silence!

***********

REMINDER: I go live in my Facebook group every Monday at 10:35 am EST and every Thursday at 1:30 pm EST. I hope you will join me! Tomorrow, I will be talking about the prerequisites for prayer AND the two types of silence you should strive for.

PSST: If you are looking for accountability or focused encouragement in growing your spiritual life, I am here to help. Supporting and empowering women is my passion and I’d love to chat with you and see if we would be a fit for working together. Book a call with me here.

Going Back to the Basics: What is Prayer?

What is prayer? Why is it important?

Back to Basics What is Prayer

If you are new to being a Christian, or more specifically, new to being a Catholic Christian, these are important questions.

If you are long-time Catholic Christian, they are equally important questions!

Prayer is the absolute foundation of the Christian life. It is how we encounter God and allow him to enter into our life.

Therefore, as we are now in the 3rd week of Lent, we are going to start focusing on prayer: the what, the why, the how and when, and even the where.

Today, in my weekly Go Live (in my Catholic Prayer and Encouragement Group) I am going to focus on defining prayer and reminding us on why prayer is important. So join me in the group this morning about 10:35 am EST.