Heart-to-Heart with God -
"Do not become so involved in the work of the Lord that you forget the Lord of the work," a seminary professor once taught. In other words, don't get so caught up with parish projects and outreach efforts that you forget to draw aside to spend time with God in prayer.
Through prayer, we nurture our most important relationship - the one that will last for all eternity. A healthy prayer life should include communal prayer, such as Mass, as well as personal prayer and family prayer. The two biggest obstacles to prayer are lack of time and lack of an understanding of how to pray. We have to schedule time for prayer just as we would for an important appointment.
And we have to learn how to pray from other people. Every great saint has taught that prayer is the most essential component in the life of the Christian. Many saints have written spiritual books that describe different methods of prayer.
Do you feel called to serve God through prayer? There are several ways members of Saint Pat's can work together to serve others through intercessory prayer:
- Pray an abbreviated form of the Liturgy of the Hours with others in the eucharistic chapel at 7:30 A.M. before daily mass each day.
Pray the Rosary with those who attend Daily Mass each morning at 8:00 A.M. There is a group of parishioners who do this each day 15 minutes before mass begins.
- Participate in the First Friday and/or First Saturday devotions.
- Participate with those who pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet each Sunday afternoon at 3:00 in the Eucharistic Chapel.
- Spend some time before the Blessed Sacrament on Thursdays between 6:00 A.M. and 8:00 P.M praying for others.
- Become a Eucharistic minister and deliver communion to those in the hospital or at home unable to attend mass.
- Participate with those at Saint Pat's who make "prayer" blankets to give to the ill who need a "hug" from friendly parishioners.
- Attend a church healing mass and pray for those whom you know need our prayers.
- Join the Prayer Chain and pray for those in our parish who request prayers. Call the church office to get your name on the list of those who participate in the prayer chain.
Of course, you can also pray on your own if you can't participate in any of the group activities! Before beginning a personal intercessory prayer session, consider following the steps below to put yourself in the right state of mind.
Seven Steps for Intercessory Prayer
- Since it is the prayer of the righteous that is powerful and effective (James 5:16), examine your conscience before you pray, and repent of any sin or harsh feelings you may have against other people.
- Spend a few minutes in silence, to quiet your mind and come into God's presence.
- During this time, ask the Lord to give you a sense of the things God wants you to pray for. Put aside your own agenda, concerns, and desires and unite yourself to Jesus' heart. You may want to write down the things that God places on your hearts.
- Briefly reflect on what you wrote down. What do you think God is leading you to pray for?
- Pray for the things on God's heart—for those who have no faith; for those who have fallen away from Jesus; for renewal and unity in all the Christian churches; for respect for all life; for all the lost, abandoned, or forgotten children of the world; for those under the power of addictions or bound by depression, anxiety, or bitterness; and for prisoners and service men and women. And, of course, pray for your own intentions and those of your loved ones.
- As you pray, take confidence in God’s power to overcome any obstacle. Stand firm in faith, and wait to see God work in power.
- In your prayer journal, keep a record of what you prayed for, and of the ways God answered those prayers. Thank him and praise for all the ways he has worked through your prayer.
Websites on Prayer that You May Find Helpful:
Catholic Prayers from EWTN
Daily mass readings and a variety of meditations to assist you in your lectio divina.
The complete Liturgy of the Hours for every day of the year chanted in English.
An alternative to divineoffice.org, which is temporarily open to "members only" due to recent licensing restrictions. Watch for updates on divineoffice.org; these restrictions are considered to be only temporary.
A beautiful daily prayer site created by Jesuits in Ireland.
The site allows you to choose from over twenty languages in which to pray.
Prayers for all occasions in English and Spanish.
A treasury of 3,569 prayers!