“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
What is prayer?
Prayer can be active or receptive, but it begins with presence. Start by being attentive to the sacred. Wherever you are, concentrate on experiencing God’s presence, and on how to respond.
Each person can have their own way of talking with God. It can be private or communal, mournful or jubilant, planned or spontaneous. All that’s required is the willingness to be attentive to God. The following are some different ways of praying that may help you.
The Liturgy of the Hours
As liturgy means “the work of the people,” communal prayer is something we benefit from by doing together. The Liturgy of the Hours is the official prayer of the Church, and the lifeblood of our Benedictine monastery. It’s the fundamental way we gather as a community to pray three times a day, praising God with hymns, chanted psalms, and Scripture readings. We share the experience of God’s presence in the biblical Word, in song, and in silence.
Devotional prayer is a way of praying that builds on an emotional connection with God. Many traditional Catholic forms of piety can be considered devotional prayer. Examples of devotional prayer include Eucharistic adoration, the rosary, the Stations of the Cross, and praying with the saints.
One of the great treasures of prayer is Lectio Divina which literally means “Divine Reading.” It is a way of reading the Bible as if we were in conversation with God. By practicing it daily, we can nourish our relationship with Christ. In Lectio Divina, there are four different moments of that relationship that develop as we listen to God’s Word and respond to the movement of the Holy Spirit within us.
Centering prayer is a simple way to deepen your relationship with God and to become more patient with yourself and others. It’s a 1,600-year-old prayer method that enables you to consent to God’s presence and action in your life. This restful prayer shows you how to pray in times of sickness, how to respond with mercy and compassion rather than reacting sharply in stressful situations, and how to relax. Centering Prayer draws on the repetition of a sacred word to bring one to a silent state of being with God, and consenting to God’s presence and action in our lives. Marked by silence, this kind of prayer invites one to a deeper reflection on the presence and action of God within one’s life, and to rest in that presence.