Monday, January 9, 2012

Revamping Our Prayer Life

Shiny Happy Catholics gets full credit for inspiring this blog post. It's an 'increasing the faith' topic that I never would have even thought to write about until I read her New Year's resolution post (you should check it out). For a long time, Steven and I prayed with regularity and felt like we were doing a really good job. But something sort of felt like it was missing. It took me a while to figure it out, but when I finally did, it was a lightbulb moment. Like God was up there saying "Finally!". We were being selfish pray-ers! The concept might sound kind of weird... what can be bad about praying!? Well, it's not that our praying was bad, but we were praying mostly for ourselves. We would offer up thanksgiving, but then state what we needed/wanted. I realized that we were really lacking by not praying for anyone else (besides my usual routine on Sunday). But then I felt overwhelmed when I thought of ALL the people/groups I wanted to pray for! How can you pray for ALL of them? And it felt like a cop out to say "God, you know the needs of everyone on earth. Please bless them." which I will admit I do sometimes do, but I like to have a little more direction and intent in my prayers. Our solution? Pick one person/group/cause to pray for at dinner every night. We can do the same at any other point in the day, but we know that we will be praying for someone besides just ourselves, or close family/friends who generally get our prayers, at least during that time of the day. It has really made a world of difference. My prayers feel more complete, less one sided, and I feel like I'm 'giving back'.

Another thing I have just recently grasped the concept of, but don't have down pat in practice, is praying not for my will, but for me to accept and live out God's will for me. That is a toughie and not something I can write about yet because I haven't even reached the tip of that iceberg!


  1. In the Jewish prayer books, there are a lot that focus on asking God to help make us aware of the suffering on earth, let us never rest in ignorant bliss but be constantly ruffled by the pain and violence around the world. I think the message behind this is that we shouldn't become complacent, that keeping ourselves aware of those in less fortunate situations makes us more likely and able to help them, even if only by bringing awareness to others. That makes total sense with what you're saying about it being a cop-out to say "you know the needs, just help everyone who needs it." As you've said before (on FB but I'll never forget it), praying isn't for God because He KNOWS what's's for US, to strengthen our relationship with God, and how do we do that by throwing out a general blanket "please help" or even "thank you"? It's putting real thought and heart into it that makes it real prayer, not just an obligatory routine.