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How to Renew Your Prayer Life

The Importance of Prayer  


The transcendental questions who am I, why am I here, where am I going? Prayer is the only way by which we’re going to get answers to those questions which eat at the heart of a young person.   Prayer helps a young person figure out why he or she is here on earth.  We will discover who we really are.


 


What is prayer?


Prayer is the raising of mind and heart to God.  The goal of prayer is, to seek loving transforming union with God.  It conforms your life to the Divine life and that’s what we’re after in prayer. We seek to be one with God’s will, we want to know what it is. Our relationship with the living and true God is through prayer.

It is an integral part of living like a saint. Through that intimate heart to heart conversation of God in prayer he not only illumines what His plans are for them but He gives them all the help and the strength that they’ll need in order to accomplish that task. With prayer you can be victorious on the true journey of your life and become a hero for God. With prayer you can become a saint.



THE BATTLE OF PRAYER


“Prayer is a battle. Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter

who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God.”

-- Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2725


With regard to that hostile environment you only have to pick up our nation’s newspapers now-a-days to see how we are basically under attack in what we believe.



What are the three expressions of prayer?


The Church’s tradition gives us three principle expressions of our prayer: Vocal Prayer, Meditation, and Contemplative Prayer.



What is vocal prayer?


Vocal prayer is is an external expression of prayer because we are praying out loud.


Jesus taught us the vocal prayer the Our Father, He instituted the Mass where we experience communal vocal prayer, and even personally in blessing the Father and His prayers of agony at Gesthemani.



What is meditative prayer?


Meditation is a prayerful reflection that begins with the Word of God and engages our thoughts, imagination, emotions and desire in order to deepen our faith, convert our heart and strengthen our will to follow Christ.


In order to grow spiritually we need to Meditate on the mysteries of Christ which can be down in prayer through Lectio Divina and the Rosary.



What is contemplative prayer?


Contemplative prayer is simply taking time to focus on Jesus. This is a gift from God in which we experience a simple gaze upon Him in silence and love.


Contemplation is forgetting all of the distractions and fixing our gaze upon Jesus. It is just spending time with Jesus and thinking about Jesus and creating a real union and bond with Jesus. Contemplation will help us to see ourselves the way Jesus sees us. We begin to see where we are weak in our faith and our strengths too and what we need to do to become a better Christian.

 


What are the five forms of prayer?


The five forms of prayer are blessing, petition, intercession, thanksgiving and praise.



What is a prayer of blessing?


Blessing: when we say a prayer of blessing for someone we are praying that they will  experience the favor of God. To be blessed means to be favored by God. Blessings are directly associated with God and come from God.


When we say a prayer of blessing for someone we are praying that they will experience the favor of God. For example, when you say to someone have a blessed Christmas you are praying that they experience the favor of God during the Christmas period.


Jesus wants us to love one an other and like God give blessings to them and when we do God also blesses us, we become favored by God.


Society teaches us that you are favored if you have success and riches but in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus gives us the Beatitudes and we learn who truly is favored by God when He says blessed are the poor, the humble, and the persecuted.


Can you give an example of when you say a prayer of blessing?



What is a prayer of petition?


Petition:  the first part of prayers of petition is to ask God for forgiveness.  The next part is asking for what we need in order to accomplish God’s will and to do our part in the Divine Plan of salvation.


We all give in to the temptation to sin and to sin is to turn away from God. The foundation of prayers of petition is to turn back to God. The first part of a prayer of petition is to ask God for forgiveness. You can pray from your heart, you can say an Act of Contrition, and you can receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.


The next part of Prayers of Petition asking for what we need in order to accomplish God’s will and to do our part in the Divine Plan of Salvation. An example that Jesus gives of a prayer of petition is the Our Father in the Gospel of Matthew 6:9-1


Can you give an example of when you say a prayer of petition?



What is a prayer of intercession?


Intercession: prayers of intercession is asking for what others need.


"Prayers of intercession consists in asking on behalf of another. It knows no boundaries and extends to one’s enemies.”  CCC No. 2647


Intercession has no boundaries it can be praying for world peace, an end to abortion, for the conversion of others, for anything.


Intercession is a prayer which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men, especially sinners. For example, in Luke 22:32 Jesus says, "But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." Also, in Luke 23:34 Jesus prayed for those who crucified Him. "Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.'


Can you give an example of when you say a prayer of intercession?



What is a prayer of thanksgiving?


Thanksgiving:  we say prayers of thanksgiving for what God has given and done for us.

We say Prayers of Thanksgiving for what God has given and done for us.


A good example of a prayer of thanksgiving is when we say grace before meals, dear heavenly Father we thank thee for this food, but we should get into the habit of thanking God throughout the day for the good things that happen to us and to others.


Look into your heart and see what inspires you, truly inspires you, nature, even sports, looking at life through those lenses and give thanks for that. When you give thanks for the things that you love in life no matter how simple they may be or how earthly that is a way of praying, a very deep way of praying that will have immediate fruits.


Thank Him for all the gifts He has given to us and to others. And when we really start to thank Him we should be able to thank Him for five thousand things a day. Just in our right hand we’d have about 50 things to thank the Lord for.


Also, a communal Prayer of Thanksgiving is the celebration the Mass where we thank God for the work of salvation. We thank God that Jesus set us free from sin and death and will give us eternal life if we choice to live with virtues of faith, hope, charity and love.   Your personal prayer life can be energized by communal prayer, which of course, is the Mass.


Can you give an example of when you say a prayer of thanksgiving?



What is a prayer of praise?


Praise:  prayers of praise help us to be humble and to remember that God created us and that we need God and should give glory to God not only for what he does but because He is.


Praise is the form of prayer which recognizes most immediately that God is God. Praise helps us to be humble and to remember that God created us and that we need God and should give glory to God not only for what He does but because He is.


We begin by praising God for who He is and adoring Him because He is so loveable.   The overriding theme of most of the psalms is one of praise to God, a theme that is especially prevalent in Psalms 149 and 150. Some psalms praise God's goodness as the one who created us, loves us, and forgives us Psalms 95, 100, 103, 135. Other psalms praise God for being the creator of the world and everything in it Psalms 8, 104, 148.


Can you give an example of when you say a prayer of praise?



What is Lectio Divina?  


A great way to renew your prayer life is to go to the source of our faith the Bible. Praying using the Bible is called Lectio Divina, which is a Latin term that means divine reading.



What are the five main steps of Lectio Divina?


Lectio Divina has five main steps: reading, meditation, prayer, contemplation and action.


1. Reading (Lectio): The first step is to just open the Bible up to a section that you feel compelled to and read until you come to a passage that really speaks to your heart.


2. Meditation (Meditatio): Think about your chosen passage of Scripture and allow the Holy Spirit to show you how to apply it to your life. Think about each word and really try to visual every detail of it. Through meditation we learn how to apply the message of the Gospel to our life.


3. Prayer (Oratio): The third step is to pray. Talk to God about what you feel from that passage. When you tell you’re best friend the emotions that you are feeling you become even closer to each other and it’s the same thing with God, we need to talk to Him and share everything with Him. Share with God the emotions, thoughts and experiences evoked by the passage.


4. Contemplation (Contemplatio): Sit quietly with God, just as you would with a loved one. Listen to the movement of the Spirit. Focus completely on God. God wants you to be His friend and we need to sit quietly and focus on God like we do with our friends. The more time we spend with God the closer we will get to Him and know what His will is for us.


5. Action (Operatio): It is not enough to hear God’s word; we must act upon it in our own lives.

It is only in doing God’s will that we will find a true sense of purpose and fulfillment in our lives.



How can you “pray without ceasing”?

                   

You can pray without ceasing by uniting prayer to good works and good works to prayer.  You can pray while walking in public or strolling  alone, while shopping or cooking, while doing anything.  Just like the saints you too can make prayer part of your daily life.



What are some of the benefits from living a life of prayer?


1. Prayer brings us closer to God and helps us to be victorious on our journey to becoming a saint .


2. It gives us the courage and the strength to live our life in such a way that we will inherit everlasting life.  


3. Our prayers can transform the world.


4. “In prayer you become one with the source of our true light, Jesus himself.”    

                                                                                                  ~ Pope John Paul II  


5. In this life, prayer will ground us in a way that isn’t affected by the culture and the society in which we live.



The saints on prayer

                     

"He who labors as he prays lifts his heart to God with his hands."

                                                                   ~ St. Benedict of Nursia




"For me prayer is a surge of the heart,

it is a simple look towards Heaven,

it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy."

                                                          ~ St. Therese of Lisieux




" God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray."

                                                                                                        ~ St. Louis de Montfort


“. . . I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone. . .”     1 Timothy 2:1

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