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What is Christian Prayer?

 

fruits

Crossing the Threshold of Hope (extract)

Saint Pope John Paul2 

 

Praying -How and Why

St Paul's letter to the Romans 8:26-"The Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings"

Prayer is commonly held to be a conversation which begins with God. We pray believing it is our own initiative that compels us to do so but instead we learn it is always Gods initiative within us, just as Paul had written.

Prayer is always a Opus Gloriae a work, a labour, of glory. Man achieves the fullness of prayer not when he expresses himself but when he lets God be the most fully present in prayer. The mystery of mystical prayer attests to this, St Francis, St Theresa of Avila, and St John of the Cross.

 

Prayer for Beginners

by Peter J Kreeft

Prayer is the life of the soul as the soul is the life of the body, if you do not pray your soul will wither and die. We pray because God commanded it. We pray not to change Gods mind but to change ours. Prayer is like gardening – it is the plant food. This plant your soul is going to be transplanted at death into our eternal garden. Prayer is simple a conversation with God your father as an act of love and no method is necessary.

Brother Laurence (15th Century monk)

To know someone you must spent time with them .One moment of prayer no matter how weak brings us closer to God then all the books in Theology. Becoming saints is the meaning of life and is why we exist. Jesus (meaning saviour) purpose was not to make us safe but to make us Saints. Prayer is the first stop to becoming Saints. Second is chastity, a life of love. This is practicing the presence of God in action.

 

Why do we pray?

We pray because he is our creator God and honour and praise belongs to him in thanksgiving for our being. We get to know God as we get to know anyone when we communicate with them. God desire good things for us and always responds to our requests but not necessarily the response we seek which may not be for our spiritual good.

Christian prayer involves the following:

Adoration

We acknowledge Gods supremacy and perfect goodness over us.

Thanksgiving

Appreciation of the good things God has given us in this life both physically and spiritually

Repentance

Seeking forgiveness for our sin because sin distances us from God and we need a genuine desire not to sin again.

Intercession & petition

We need to ask for spiritual graces for ourselves and others.

Prayer is not:

In the mind; God hears and answers our prayers

It is not a mental void as in Zen Buddhism and yoga .The focus is always on God

It is not a technique; rituals will not bring God into our presence that is decided by God.

 

How do we pray?

Vocal Prayer

The mental activity of prayer along with the physical activity of words and gestures for e.g. our father,kneeling.

Liturgical prayer

Mass and communal prayer

Meditative prayer

Mental conversation with God through reflecting on the Bible or other holy works.

Contemplative prayer

Reflecting on God through the power of the Holy Spirit

 

Pope Benedict and Lectio Divina-Contemplative prayer

"Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church," the Holy Father recommended the monastic practice of lectio divina, the prayerful, meditative reading of the Bible. "Assiduous reading of sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer makes that intimate dialogue possible in which, through reading, one hears God speaking, and through prayer, one responds with a confident opening of the heart," the Pope said.

 

Common Prayers

Basic Catholic prayers

All prayer starts with blessing ourselves with the sign of the cross and saying:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Our Father

Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Glory Be

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The Apostles Creed (declaring what we believe)

I believe in God,
the Father Almighty,
Creator of Heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day, He rose again.
He ascended to Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen.

Glory be to the Father

Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
is now,
and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen.

Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb,
Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

St Michael prayer

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

The Angelus

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.

R. And she conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.

R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.

V. And the Word was made Flesh.

R. And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord.R. Amen.

Guardian Angel prayer

Angel of God, my Guardian dear, to whom His love commits me here, ever this day (or night) be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.

Prayers to the Holy Spirit

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth you're Spirit, and they shall be created.And you shall renew the face of the earth.Let us prayO God, who has taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may be always truly wise and ever rejoice in his consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer before Meals

Bless us O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from thy bounty, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer To Control Thoughts
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, strengthened by the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Blessed Michael the Archangel, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the Saints and Angels of Heaven, and powerful in the holy authority of His Name, I reject this thought and feeling of [list for describe thought/feeling] which is contrary to God's will. I choose only thoughts in harmony with the Holy Spirit, and I cover my thought life with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

 Prayer Quest:
http://www.ewtn.com

 

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