Here are some answers:
It’s about God because we need to praise Him (He doesn’t need our praise, but we build our attitude of gratitude when we praise Him.) Oh, wait, who needs to praise him? WE do! Okay, about us!
It’s about saying we are sorry for the day’s sins (or getting a head start on apologies before we rush into the day and forget God!). Hmm, that’s still about us!
It’s about interceding for the people around us. Okay, that might be about others, but it makes you feel good! Almost holy!
It’s about interceding for those in faraway places facing known and unknown problems (like natural disasters, poverty, disease, etc.). Hmm, same as the one before, it’s about others, but it makes us feel good.
It’s about the clergy, that God gives them strength, joy, holiness
It’s about civil authority, that God helps them to make decisions that are good for all. Hmmmm. That’s about
Uh-oh! Are you feeling like prayer is selfish and unselfish at the same time? Possibly, the best answer is prayer is about those here on Earth trying to live out our lives in accordance with God’s purpose for us!
At the surface, prayer seems to be about us (you can substitute “me” for all
So really, prayer IS about you, and in a better way than the world would say it is about you! Learning to sacrifice self and to be one with God can only bring you much joy and happiness, and if not here, most certainly in heaven. Which place lasts longer is the next question to ask, right!?
The real answer then is we may not be spending sufficient time in prayer. Yet, we must not mortify ourselves, and we must realize that God is outside time, and He will seek us more than we seek Him, according to St. John of the Cross. Not praying as much as you can is a scary thought, when you consider that our job here is to fulfill His plan for our arrival in heaven. So, to maximize prayer for those of us who are not dedicated to prayer in a contemplative religious order such as the Carmelites, God must be invited into our every action. As St. Teresa of Avila noted, God is in the pots and pans. St. Therese of Lisieux noted that He was there in the splashes that she received from a careless fellow handkerchief washing nun. He is there in the struggles just to walk around as St. Elizabeth of the Trinity discovered. If He was invited into those situations, we can invite Him into our situations, too!
Again, prayer is about you, AND your relationship with God and others. Maybe the lack of prayer in our modern world has contributed to the lack of connection between people and the horrible acts of violence that we see perpetrated against entire communities. How can we combat loneliness and crimes against humanity if people think prayer is just about them, and they don’t have time? Some people have tried prayer, and since no changes were immediately seen in themselves or around them, they came to believe that prayer was useless. They believe that they need to see something as the fruit of their prayer, for it to be worth their time. Other people think that prayer should be more
If you are reading this and do not have a prayer life, or wish to deepen the prayer life you have, know that
- Ask the Holy Spirit to keep you safe and guide you.
- Read a holy book (the Bible is a great start!) for the time you have.
- Pause and reflect on what you have read.
- Write down any questions you have or thoughts that come to you
- Seek guidance from someone ahead of you in prayer if you feel you need it. Although it is not the purpose of Confession, many priests give wonderful guidance on your prayer life as time allows.
If you find that getting quiet is difficult for any reason, instead of writing, try doodling, drawing or coloring to help you leave your worried self and go to the place of silence within where we listen to God, which is a very important part of prayer.
Some people go beyond writing the thoughts and questions that come to them in silence and they set aside a time to write in a journal, and that is certainly what St. Teresa of Avila did, in a way, as she wrote about her life and the
Since prayer is both about you and about