What is prayer?
Saint Augustine called prayer communication or talking with God.
Prayer is a living relationship with God.
At the heart of this relationship is communication, a sense that we are speaking to God as a friend.
When we pray to God think of it as a conversation with a friend.
It is important that we take our time and not feel rushed or distracted.
That like a friendship we build a relationship by communicating on a regular basis.
And we share our deepest hopes and desires.
Prayer is Communication with God
It is important to pray so that we can share our lives with God. Just as friends become intertwined in each other’s lives by sharing the stories & events that matter to them, praying helps us that God is active in our lives. We always have the opportunity to engage in conversation with God.
Prayer is Trust in God
By putting our hopes and fears before God in prayer we are trusting that God will care for us.
Deep sharing on a personal level is the mark of a true friendship.
God seeks an open and trusting relationship in prayer.
Prayer is God Speaking to Us.
How does God speak to us?
God speaks to us through silence that involves faith.
God answers our prayers it may not always in the way we expect but what prayer does is give us hope.
Ways of Praying
Prayer can be formal, such as prayers of the Mass that are part of the ritual. The Eucharist is the greatest prayer where we meet Christ in a relationship.
All the prayers of the Mass are said the same way at the same time.
through him, with him, in him,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honour is yours, Almighty Father,
for ever and ever.
We also say prayers in Mass that we use outside of the ritual. For example the Our Father.
It is called the Lord’s Prayer because Jesus taught it to his disciples when hey asked him how to pray.
Personal Prayer is an expression of our relationship with God.
Prayer can also be private and meditative.
Often people seek out a quiet place to be alone and communicate with God without distractions. What is valued in this prayer is silence.
Communal Prayer unites individuals in the community with God.A powerful aspect of community life.
An opportunity for a group to come together and ask for God’s blessing and protection and give thanks. Examples at school are class and staff prayer.
Types of Prayer
Blessing- recognises the close relationship between God and humanity by acknowledging God’s presence.
Eg. “Dear God, be with us as we enjoy our meal.”
Adoration-Expresses deep love of God, especially to Jesus present in the Eucharist.
Eg. “Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.” Eph 3:20
Petition-a prayer for help that comes out of genuine need.
Eg I pray for my family and their needs.
Intercession-When we ask for something on the behalf of someone else.
Eg We pray for our Church leaders give them strength and wisdom.
Thanksgiving– this simply means thanking God.
Eg Thank you God for your wonderful creation.
Praise-recognises the power and majesty of God.
Praise you God for your beatiful sunset.
Traditional Prayer-The Rosary
One of the most recognisable prayers for Catholics is the Rosary. The Rosary was introduced and developed in the13th Century by the Dominicans it is made up of the
Our Father, Hail Mary and various shorter prayers said in a regular pattern.
The rosary is composed of twenty mysteries that trace the life of Jesus and Mary.
For each mystery ten Hail Marys are said preceded by an Our Father. At the conclusion of each decade a Glory be to the Father is said.
One of the things that makes the rosary so recognisable are rosary beads.
These beads are arranged in a circle and are used during the prayer.
The Apostles’ Creed is said on Crucifix, the Our Father is said on each of the large beads and the Hail Mary on each of the small beads.
The Glory Be is said after the three Hail Marys at the beginning of the Rosary, and after each group of small beads.
Particularly, in the early days when their was no priest they said the Rosary in place of the mass.