Is Praying Supposed to be Fun?
Yes, If You Use Your Own Prayer Language
by Bo Sanchez
Do you struggle praying daily?
I did — for years.
But no matter what I felt, I prayed anyway. That was the “teaching” and “rule” for good Christians like me.
So each day, I went into my room and talked to God. Thirty minutes, I was taught. So 30 minutes I did.
Some days, it was OK.
Some days, it was like being root-canalled. Or liposuctioned. (Just in case you’re wondering, I’ve never had one.)
During those difficult days of prayer, every part of me wanted to get out of that room. I felt so dry, so empty, so distant from God.
And I didn’t know why.
Why did I feel so depressed?
I simply concluded it was the spiritual dryness that saints experienced regularly. (Ahem!) I read that St. Teresa of Avila had spiritual dryness that lasted for 20 years. Who was I to complain?
Years later, I realized that perhaps many people’s spiritual dryness come from simply not loving themselves. How? By not respecting their own personality, not listening to their needs and not using their own prayer language.
Once upon a time, I thought there was only one way of praying: My way!
My way of praying meant going to a room, sitting down or standing up singing, listening and talking to God. For years, I’d teach people to do this exact same thing. I called it “prayer time” and it had only one definition — mine.
I remember a woman who said, “Bo, I do my gardening every morning. And when I do, I imagine Him gardening beside me. Surrounded by the fresh air and the beauty of flowers around me, I spend time with Him. As I dirty my hands with the soil of the earth, I’m blessed. And I feel so refreshed each morning.”
I frowned at her. I said, “That’s cute. But you still need a formal prayer time where you go into a room — and then sit down and stand up. And then use A.C.T.S. — Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving and Supplication.”
Forgive me, Lord, for my arrogance!
Perhaps a part of me looked down on anyone who was having too much fun in their prayer life. How could she enjoy it while I was suffering through my prayers?
I never saw that she was doing something right.
Because God made her a gardener. And He was meeting her in the garden. God was talking to her in the prayer language He gave her.
Today, I ask people to discover their own prayer language.
One of my friends is a music lover. So each morning, he plays his worship CD. And he sings along for the next eight to 10 songs worshiping the Lord. He tells me that this prayer time really connects him to the Lord.
My athletic uncle jogged daily. He’s 80 now, so he’s slowed down. But for years, he ran for miles. And he told me that each morning, he’d talk to God like the Almighty was jogging right beside him.
A friend loves quiet. She walks to a nearby chapel and spends quiet time before the Blessed Sacrament. She loves it.
Friend, are you having difficulty praying daily?
What is your prayer language?
May your dreams come true.
*This article was taken from Kerygma magazine April 2009 issue. If you want to subscribe to Feast magazine (formerly Kerygma magazine), click here or call us at 8-725-9999.
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