not alone: Prayer. 4 comments

not alone series

I’m linking up once again with the lovely Morgan and Jen for the latest installment of the Not Alone Series! This week we are tackling prayer: How do you pray? What is your favorite way to pray? How do you stay committed to prayer? It is a broad and vast topic, that one…so here goes nothing!

The logical place, I suppose, would be to begin with how I stay committed to prayer. I must admit, however, that blogging about my own prayer life seems (at least at the moment) to be a bit self-serving. I’m not perfect. My prayer life hasn’t always been what it is today, and it could still be better.

As a youth minister it is woefully easy to confuse my prayer life with my work life. I work for the church, I’m always there, and I pray with the teens frequently, that’s enough, right? Wrong. That’s like saying that a doctor never actually has to go to a doctor because he is one and he works at a hospital. It isn’t enough just to be around prayer and holy things, we must immerse ourselves in them. Praying with the teens and teaching them how to pray is a wonderful and glorious (and humbling) thing, but it isn’t enough. It can’t and it shouldn’t be enough. I need my own relationship with God, my own time to converse with Him and listen to Him apart from the noise of teenagers, the phone ringing, and the busyness of my days. 

The reality of prayer is that I can’t give what I don’t have. If I’m called to teach and lead others in prayer then I can’t do that without having a prayer life of my own first. So how do I keep myself committed to prayer? I talk to God like He is my best friend. I’ll admit that I’m not always the best at being quiet and simply listening to Him, but I talk to Him constantly. Keeping myself committed to prayer is a habit that I’ve had to strengthen over time. I’ve seen how sad and miserable life can become when I shut God out or stop talking to Him, and I’ve seen how beautiful life can be when He and I are in close conversation. I’ll take the second option, thank you very much.

How do I pray? It looks different all the time because He’s constantly keeping me on my toes. In the spiritual life we naturally go through ebbs and flows, and the same is true when it comes to prayer. Sometimes the consolation of prayer is there and I “feel” God in a very real way, but other times I pray and it feels like I’m talking to (or screaming at) a brick wall. It took me a long time to realize that both are very normal. God sometimes draws us into the desert and takes away the consolation of prayer so that we can be drawn more to His heart than we are to His consolations. Spiritual growth is a tough one, but it is a journey that only get more rich the further you travel on this road.

St. Therese. The Imitation of Mary. The rosary. Such goodness and depth to be found!

St. Therese. The Imitation of Mary. The rosary. Such goodness and depth to be found!

In case you couldn’t tell (hello 300+ blogs and a book), I’m more of a writer than I ever thought I would be. Journaling is the most constant form of prayer in my life. I get the chance to “get it all” so-to-speak and lay my life at His feet and watch Him work. The rosary has also been a constant for nearly a year now and Mary knows what she is up to! The saints and their intercession are another way that God draws me to His heart, especially through St. Thérèse, St. Rose, St. Joseph, St. Anthony, and St. Augustine. Finally, I’m usually trying to read something spiritual beyond the Bible and the Catechism. I read a lot of blogs during the day, but in the evening when I’m unwinding I enjoy a good book that can make me think after reading only a sentence or two. My latest good read (which I’m still working my way through) is The Imitation of Mary. {I’ve also got a long list of books I want to read…you know…someday!}

So that’s it, in a very small, blog-sized nutshell! What are you favorite ways to pray?

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