Prayer

ANGELS: A Novena To Archangel Gabriel

December 21, 2011

(Author unknown) Archangel Gabriel, I venerate you as the angel of the incarnation because God has especially appointed you to bear the messages concerning the God-man to Daniel, Zechariah, and the blessed virgin, Mary.  Give me a tender and devoted mother, more like your own. I venerate you also as the strength from God because you are the giver of God’s strength, consoler, and comforter chosen to strengthen God’s faithful, and teacher of important truths.  I ask for the grace of a special power of the will to strive for holiness of life.  Steady my resolutions.  Renew my courage.  Comfort and console me in the problems, trials, and sufferings of daily living as you consoled my savior in his agony, Mary in her sorrows, [...]

CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER: Unity vs. Wholeness

December 16, 2011

I took the following definition of centering prayer off the website Centering Prayer, ostensibly the website dedicated to the teachings of Father Thomas Keating, one of the priests who began the teaching of contemplative prayer in the modern age.  The definition goes: Centering prayer is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God’s presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself.  This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship. I find within this definition a perfect expression of our relationship with God: through this kind of prayer we experience [...]

MYSTICAL WOMEN: Joan of Arc—A Declaration of Faith

December 14, 2011

Were it not for God’s grace I could do nothing.  Had I not the assurance that God directs my work, I would rather tend sheep than expose myself to such great perils. If I am not in God’s grace, may God bring me there.  If I am in it, may he keep me there.  I should be of all creatures the most miserable if I knew myself not to be in God’s grace. When I am in any way opposed, because one will hardly believe that what I declare has come from God, I seek solitude and pray to God, lamenting to him that they to whom I speak will not readily believe me.  When my prayer to God is ended, I hear a voice that says to me, “Daughter of God, go, go, go.  I will be your helper.  Go!”  And when I hear this voice, I [...]

THE MECHANICS OF PRAYER: Why God? The Three R’s

December 13, 2011

As I rummaged around the fundamentals of prayer looking for ways to talk about it I happened upon a concept that would have flown right past me as I grew up and studied the miracle and joy that is prayer. Unquestioningly I would have included God in the effort. But, I realized, not everyone would be so accepting about the fundamentals of prayer, and take them on without thinking them over first. So the question is, why God? Why pray to God? Why include God in our petitions to the universe? There is, after all, a system of writing out affirmations for our perceived wants and needs. If I want a new job then all I have to do is write out, for a specified number of times, I, Julia, will find a new job this week. Or some such formula. Why not [...]

PRAYER: The Great Tomorrow, by Helen Steiner Rice

December 13, 2011

There is always a tomorrow. Tomorrow belongs as much to you as it does to me. The dawn of a new day means the dawn of a new life. We cannot peer into its storehouse, but the very impenetrable mystery which enwraps the every-approaching tomorrow is the one thing that keeps the fires of hope constantly burning. No matter what our yesterdays have been, tomorrow may be different. As long as we have life, the fires of hope will not die out; the flame may burn low, but the thought of a new day, the flame which seemed dead leaps forward and the sparks once more fly upward to spur us on. Even if our today is filled with sadness and defeat, who can foretell what the next day will bring to us? Let us all eagerly await what destiny will deal us. We [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL: A Turning Toward Church

December 12, 2011

Evelyn Underhill was born in 1875 England.  Although her family was associated with the Anglican church, neither her mother nor her father were practicing Anglicans.  Evelyn addresses this situation when she writes, “I was not brought up to religion.” Her father turned away from the church when he grew tired of the constant chapels he was required to attend in boarding school.  Oddly, though, his younger brother had the opposite reaction and eventually became an Anglican priest. In spite of this, at 15, Evelyn began study for her confirmation into the church.  She keeps herself an arm’s length away from true conviction.  She writes in her diary, As to religion, I don’t quite know, except that I believe in a [...]

PRAYER: A Prayer For Courage by Evelyn Underhill

December 12, 2011

O Lord Christ, who in this difficult world was tempted in all things, as I am, yet fell into no sin, look pitifully, I pray you, upon me.  Guide me with your adorable wisdom.  Teach me in everything and in every hour what I ought to do.  You alone know both that I suffer and what I need.  To you, that perfect path that I should walk is known.  Show it to me and teach me how to walk it.  Keep me, O Savior, in body, mind, and spirit, for into your strong and gentle hands I commit myself. Give me, O Lord, I beseech you, courage to pray for light and to endure the light here, where I am on this world of yours, which should reflect your beauty but which we have spoiled and exploited.  Cast your radiance on the dark places, those crimes [...]

THE MECHANICS OF PRAYER: The Fundamentals

December 7, 2011

To begin any and every writing about God, it is necessary to acknowledge the three fundamental laws of God: respect, courtesy, and gratitude.  No matter if you are dealing with having visions, praying for a friend, or grocery shopping, these three laws always apply.  If it’s not respectful, courteous, or grateful, it’s not God. I have found over the years that God can be understood to some infinitesimal degree.  And in that understanding one can find simplicity.  The above laws about God are simple.  If you want to follow God, even in a small way, and find yourself yelling at your neighbor about raking their leaves into your yard, find a way to back out of the argument and look for something respectful to say.  Or [...]

PRAYER: Thanksgiving For Beauty by Satyavati Chitambar Jordan

December 7, 2011

We thank you, our Father, for the beauty that lies about us: this Earth, lovely in springtime, with its bursting buds and the riot of color in flowering gardens; the cool relief of the first heavy shower after a parched summer; the golden fruitfulness of autumn; and the bracing cold of the winter months. We thank you for the symphony of sight and sound in nature – deep blue skies and green, grassy lawns; moonlit nights and the first flush of dawn; the chirp of the cricket, the sweet note of the robin; the droning hum of the bees, the excited welcoming bark of a loved pet dog. We thank you for home and friends and family and the deep content of the fireside in beloved human companionship – with the crisp, sharp cold outside. You have [...]

PRAYER: A Novena To Mary For Forgiveness

December 1, 2011

Author unknown A novena is a nine-day period of private or public prayer to obtain special graces, to implore special favors, or to make special petitions.  (Novena is derived from the Latin, “novem,” meaning nine.)  As the definition suggests, the novena has always had more of a sense of urgency and neediness. The following is the novena I use for forgiving someone.  I use it every time I pray.  It is awkwardly worded, but I have kept it as it is, and it has become a close friend. A Novena to Mary to Forgive Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, I ask for the willingness to forgive and the grace to forgive immediately all who have sinned against me. On Calvary, you gave Mary the grace [...]

THE MECHANICS OF PRAYER: An Introduction

November 30, 2011

There are many definitions of prayer.  Evelyn Underhill calls it a loving intercourse with God.  Myriad descriptions refer to it as being a quenching of a thirst.  We, people, somehow and for some reason yearn to connect with God and prayer is one way that satisfies this yearning. All this is well and good.  And very poetic.  But I take a much more practical and concrete approach to prayer.  Here is my definition: Prayer is the act of taking of an idea and bringing it into reality through God. All of us who pray have a general, if fuzzy, understanding of how  prayer works.  We may even have strong feelings about the form it should take — it should involve knees and/or a bowed head.  We should stand.  A cross should be [...]