Growing a Dynamic Prayer By Stephen I. Nellas
I learned from Father John Bartunek, a Catholic convert who became a priest, that prayer can be nurtured so it can have a huge impact in our lives, as it should. So here are some of the stuff that he recommends for us to grow more mature in prayer. Let me share my own take on what he suggested:
1. Exercise your freedom—make a decision to really pray. Prayer is a meeting of people who both have freedom:
God’s eternal freedom as God and the soul’s free will. If you now see the value of a more mature prayer life, you have to decide that prayer has to be part of your daily schedule.
No one will force you to pray.
You have the freedom to pray. When you decide to do something, you make sure that you’re doing things that will enable you to reach your goal.
This is one of things that give great value to prayer: It is a friendship, not a dictatorship. Each party is willing to invest in this relationship.
2. There are different modes of prayer.
Prayer follows the rhythm of life. There are ups and downs, high and lows. There are times when it is easy to meditate and times when nothing is working when you pray.
We should be glad that Christian prayer is wide and offers many ways from which we can proceed. We have liturgical prayer, vocal prayer, and mental prayer (or Christian meditation), all of which we can do and use at different times in our spiritual journey. Anyone— no matter what their temperament and personality—can pray according to their needs and capacity.
3. In your daily God time, give it some structure.
When you are a beginner in prayer, it helps that you create a structure to your time for prayer so it is easier to duplicate the next time you go to prayer. As humans, we love following structures and systems that make things easier to do and remember. Here are some of the structures that Father John Bartunek recommended that you can follow:
This stands for Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, and Supplication, in that order. A lot of people started prayer using this structure and they profited well from it. When things are not working for you in prayer, you can also go back to the basics and use this structure to help you ease into your prayer for a particular day.
As mentioned earlier, Scripture reading, or even books about our faith, are great tools for our minds to focus on God. Have a Bible handy so that when you need it, you can simply reach for it when you pray.
Pray for Others
One of the ways that we can add to our structure is to intercede or pray for other people—especially those who ask for our prayers. This is a good way to practice charity and love of neighbor. Praying for others is pleasing in God’s eyes because we love other people like He loves them.
*This excerpt is taken from In The Name of The Father: How to Move from Praying on Our Term to God’s Terms by Stephen I. Nellas, available on paperback and e-book copy at http://www.feastbooks.ph!