What makes a prayer come alive?

What are the 3 most important Catholic prayers?

What's this?


prayer

In almost all religions, prayer is considered a fundamental practice of worship and recognition of something divine. People were in awe of the mystery and tried to get into harmony with it. In this way, signs of prayer, rites and words were created, often also magical formulas with which one wanted to conjure up God. Christian prayer is not magic but an expression of a relationship. Christianity worships God in three persons; and ultimately all prayers are directed to this God. Of course, saints can also be invoked, although never adored. “Prayer” says in YOUCAT 469, “is the turning of the heart to God. When a person prays he enters into a living relationship with God. "

There are different forms of prayer in Christianity. “The five main types of prayer are blessing, adoration, supplication and intercessory prayer, thanksgiving prayer and praise prayer.” (YOUCAT 483) One cannot be a Christian without praying. “From the earliest times, Christians have prayed at least in the morning, with meals, and in the evening. Those who do not pray regularly will soon no longer pray at all. ”(YOUCAT 499). The private prayer of the individual is important; But more important is the common prayer in the “Liturgy of the Hours” and the liturgy of the Church.

What does the scriptures say?


Even in the earliest times of the people of Israel, people called on "the name of the Lord" (Gen 4:26). The 3,000 year old psalms are still being prayed today. Jesus lived entirely by prayer and taught his disciples to pray to the “Father”. Known Scriptures:

  • My soul praises the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exults in God my Savior. For he has looked at the humility of his maid. (Lk 1.46, the "Magnificat")

  • Jesus once prayed in one place; When he had finished the prayer, one of his disciples said to him, Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples to pray! Then he said to them, When you pray, say, Father, hallowed be your name. (Luke 11: 1-2)

  • Rejoice at any time! Pray without ceasing! Because that's what God wants from you, who belong to Jesus Christ. Do not extinguish the mind! (1 Thess 5: 16-19)

  • Do not stop praying and pleading! Pray in the Spirit at all times; be vigilant, persevere and pray for all the saints. (Eph 6:18)

  • Do not worry about anything, but in every situation, praying and pleading, bring your requests with thanks to God! (Phil 4,6)

The YOUCAT little catechesis


How does prayer work

Maybe we'll learn from the climber. There is a saying that “need teaches prayer”. So there is the joke of the mountain climber who slipped on the steep face and can barely cling to a ledge. It works for a while, but then the strength slackens. Desperately he calls out to heaven: “Is there someone there?” - “Oh, yes!”, It sounds powerfully from the clouds. “What should I do?” - “Say a prayer, my son - and then let go!” The climber ponders; he doesn't have much time. Finally he calls out: "Is there anyone else there?"

Jokes are scoreboards for what most people think - probably: It could be that there is a god somewhere. But better not to rely on it. Better to cling to more tangible things. And so they look at people who pray intensely (or even claim it) less with admiration than with skepticism. Perhaps these people carry their heads in the clouds so that they don't have to face reality?

In truth, it's the other way around

Prayer is the most intense contact with reality.

If there is God - and the Christian faith is absolutely convinced of this - then God is the most real thing, more real than the hand in front of our eyes, more real than everything that appears real and real to us. Then being-in-relationship-with-God - and that means prayer - is the most natural thing in the world and "as human as breathing, eating, loving" (YOUCAT 470). So prayer only works under five conditions:

  1. There is this God that Christians worship.

  2. This god is not a nameless orbiting energy.

  3. This God is somehow person, spirit, will and freedom (because if it is man, then God three times).

  4. This god cares about us.

  5. This God can be spoken permanently. “To know God, to serve him”, says YOUCAT 352, “to worship him - that has absolute priority in life.

What if you are unsure?

There is a Hasidic legend from Martin Buber, which pinpoints the crucial point: Either God is a rumor and praying is a poke in the fog. Or HE is a reality, then prayer is the only appropriate way to deal with it. It goes like this: An enlightener came to Rabbi Levi Jizchak to "shame the evidence for the truth of his belief". The rabbi listened to the mocker's speeches in silence; but then he looked him in the face and said only this one sentence: “But maybe it is true!” It is said that the enlightener's knees shook at the sight of the wise old man. Finally the rabbi says: “My son, the great ones of the Torah, with whom you argued, wasted their words on you, you laughed at them when you went. They have not been able to put God and his kingdom on your table, and neither can I. But, my son, think about it, perhaps it is true. ”The Enlightener offered his innermost strength to reply; but that terrible "maybe" that echoed back to him time after time broke his resistance.

Praying Hands, by Albrecht Dürer.

Do you have to believe in order to pray?

Or do you have to pray first to be able to believe? In YOUCAT 469 it says: “Prayer is the great gateway to faith.” Pop icon Nina Hagen once told us about how she made her breakthrough to faith - in the middle of a dramatic phase in her life. Emaciated and addicted to drugs, she lived in an occupied house in Amsterdam and didn't know what to do: “I cried out to Jesus all night. In the morning I knew: He is there. ”I also tend to believe: Prayer comes earlier than faith., Prayer brings you to faith - once, at the beginning, and then again and again in life.

Prayer is relationship cultivation

When we come from God, are held in being by God every day, depend on him every second, and run - forwards, backwards, sideways - nowhere else but into His arms, then prayer is the fundamental way we do it with our hearts are in the matter and in the face of reality. The prayer, says YOUCAT 469: “... is the turning of the heart to God. When a person prays he enters into a living relationship with God. "

To put it nicely, how do you go from zero to one hundred? Perhaps you should first keep one special feature in mind: "You cannot ... learn to pray", says YOUCAT 469 about how to learn a technique. As strange as it sounds, prayer is a gift that one receives through prayer. ”One can even say that prayer is already there within us long before we plan to pray. “It” prays in us. We just don't notice it because we are rarely really with us. We walk around outside, are distracted (and seek distraction), deal with a thousand things, do not come to us, are alienated from our own hearts. If we were really with us, we would discover the secret of every human soul: It exists - the inner axis that rises from the depths of my soul and no longer ends until it arrives in the heart of God. This axis cannot be destroyed. Nor is it dependent on conditions. There is something within us that longs for God, that God “knows” long before we officially meet him. The Holy Spirit, so we read in Paul in the Holy Scriptures, “takes care of our weaknesses. For we do not know what to rightly pray for; however, the spirit itself intervenes for us with sighs that we cannot put into words. ”(Rom 8:26)

Practically praying

The first rule is: plan time. You won't get into conversation with God if you don't give God time to talk into your life.

Second rule: you need a place where you are there for God. Perhaps that shouldn't be the bed, where at best you will be able to send one more thought up while you are drowsy. But it could well be the edge of the bed where you spend time with God in the morning or at night.

Third rule: organize silence when you pray. Maybe lighting a candle will help. Turn off all sources of noise. Deposit the smartphone outside the door. If there is silence in you, you can be in a room with God even in the midst of the subway. (For example, I like to pray during long drives.)

Fourth rule: alternate between classical prayers and prayers that arise from your heart. If you only pray “in advance”, your praying may become sterile and formal; if you just pray freely, you are in danger of saying or asking for the same thing over and over again.

Fifth rule: Make sure that the praise and the prayers of thanks are in the foreground of my prayers - in the horizon of thanks you can also say whatever you have on your mind: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. ”(Lk 11: 9)

Sixth rule: Do not speak to God in stilted church language, but as to a friend. HE understands you.

Seventh rule: pray with friends. Go to common worship. Organize a worship. Meet for a common prayer from the Bible or a prayer book.

Eighth rule: don't think that God is a lion who will eat you up if you get too close. It is beautiful with God. ∎