Great, intimate circle last night on an intimate topic, prayer.
Here are my notes.
1. Prayer is an essential component of our relationship with God, and it requires
perseverance. Like all solid relationships, ours with God requires two way
communication, and in the spiritual life, that is what prayer is. And as with any
relationship, sometimes we are distracted or “not getting anything out of this”, and we want to just want some “me” time. That’s fine, but we also have to be willing to keep at it, just as we keep at it in the dry periods with our other big relationships, such as our spouse or our kids. Perseverance in prayer matters. Do we persevere in prayer, even when we’re busy or frankly “not interested”?
2. Prayer is not just a visit with Santa Claus. While supplication is an important part of
prayer, we have to remember that as a form of communication, prayer is broader than just going to God with our “asks”. We discussed the acronym for prayer called ACTS: Adoration, Contrition, Thanks, and Supplication. All of these are forms of prayer. If we want to grow our relationship with God, we need to work on all of them. How much of our prayer time is devoted to supplication? How much to the other forms of prayer?
3. “Prayer is ultimately about discerning God’s will for us in our lives, and then
conforming our will to His.” This takes work, and importantly, takes listening. So
prayer includes reading the Word of God, and reflecting on its meaning for us in our
lives, what it’s telling us to do. It’s also listening carefully the voice of God within us, our conscience, that at times we try to run from or ignore. To grow in this special spiritual relationship with God, we need to “listen, listen, listen.” Communication is two way, not one way. How much time do we spend in prayer listening rather than talking?
We meditated briefly on Velasquez’ 16 th century masterpiece, “The Supper at Emmaus”. This depiction of Luke’s Gospel where the resurrected Christ suddenly becomes present for the disciples in the sacrament of the Eucharist is a good image for us in thinking about the ultimate form of communion with Jesus, the Eucharist. Do we believe in the real presence of Christ there? Do we meditate when we are with him in this very special way on the mystery of it all?
Resolution: We resolved to read the Catechism’s chapter on Prayer, and to choose from it one element of prayer that we could focus on this month to improve our prayer lives, and through this, our relationship with Christ.