“Prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance directed to heaven, it is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trail as well as joy; finally, it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus.” --St.Therese of Lisieux
Prayer is essential to living a holy life, to becoming a saint. Praying is not about a method - there are many fine ones - prayer is about showing up with the proper inner dispositions. Prayer is a work of grace - it’s less about us and more about Him. Those inner dispositions are faith and trust that God is present with me in this time of prayer - begin prayer with a prayer: “Lord, I trust that you are present with me in this moment and that you look on me with great love.”
Fidelity and perseverance: “Time spent faithfully every day in mental prayer that is poor, arid, distracted, and relatively short is worth more, and will be infinitely more fruitful for our progress, than long, ardent spells of mental prayer from time to time, when circumstances make it easy” (Jacques Philippe, Time for God). Setting aside the time and sticking to it will be the means that leads to a better quality of prayer. In the beginning be faithful and persevere.
Purity of intention: “Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall she God.” Purity of intention is desiring to live more for God than for ourselves. It does not mean we are perfect yet, but we have the desire to be so. Our intention should be to pray to please God - the gifts received during prayer are a bonus.
Mental Prayer: use a verse from the Bible or a quote from a Saint or a good spiritual book; or talk to God about your day, your life, about your desire to love Him more. Anything that helps you enter into prayer. Set the timer on your phone.
Daily Mass or an Act of Spiritual Communion (if you cannot get to Mass).
Prayer before/after Meals - pray before every meal; it is ok to be subtle or unabashed.
Theological Study - read a Catechism (Baltimore, YOUCAT, the Big Green One); website versions found here.
Rosary/Divine Mercy Chaplet or both - pray as a family or individually: pray on the way to work (helps with road rage). Listen to both on the Relevant Radio app.
Daily Examen - go over your day (graces and failures); thank God and ask for His merciful forgiveness and the grace to be better tomorrow. The Daily Examen as practiced by St. Ignatius Loyola.
Prayer (communion with God) is that for which your heart longs. Those who pray are healthier and happier according to some studies I have read - less anxiety and stress. The reality of God’s love and our response (prayer) are undeniable even to the irreligious. Start with the minimum daily prayer plan and grow from there. Let’s get praying!!
I am a Catholic priest writing about Catholic things.