12 And you shall call upon me, and you shall go: and you shall pray to me, and I will hear you.
13 You shall seek me, and shall find me: when you shall seek me with all your heart.
The Sign of the cross | The Creed
The Our Father | Hail Mary | Glory be
Why do we need to pray
Praying in vain
Prayer from the heart
Relationship with God
Offering and consecration
What we should ask in prayer
Praying for miracles
Praying in the Spirit
Praying in tongues
Praying with others
The Holy Mass
Prayers through Mary
The Holy Rosary
The Power of intercession
Praying with the Bible
Prayer in the Communion of Saints
Different kinds of prayers >>>
+ Praise and Worship
+ Bible Topics
As children of God we have received many gifts, one of them is the mind which we use to think. Through our reasoning and then our faith we accept that there is a God who listens not only to our words but to our thoughts.
When we pray we come in supplication before God or any superior spiritual being like Our Lady, the saints or the angels. We present our entreaties with humility, and we expect to be answered.
We live before God, and He sees everything that we do, He knows our needs and desires, He is very generous and He wants to give us His gifts, but we have to cultivate a relationship with Him based on a spiritual life, where prayer is indispensable to our progress.
As we pray we come closer to God and we may ask and obtain what we want, we may knock and He will open the door, we may search and we can find [Matthew 7:7-8].
This sounds too good to be true, and yet this is so real. We can open the treasures of God with the keys of humility, trust and prayer.
In the words of Padre Pio we should live our lives with this attitude: "Pray, hope and don't worry".
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Our Lord Jesus said to the Apostles go and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit [Matthew 28:19].
St. Paul tells us that whatever we do, we should always do in the name of Jesus for the Glory of God the Father [Colossians 3:17],
The Church by tradition has adopted the sign of the cross to be made as a sign of consecration to Jesus, this sign is used in all the Sacraments but is also used by anyone who acknowledges God as the Holy Trinity and remembers that Jesus died for our sins on the cross.
By this sign, we also bless ourselves whenever we start anything in the Presence of God, e.g. we can bless ourselves anytime, we can bless our families, children, we can bless ourselves before we pray, when we enter a Church or pass by it, when we awake, when we start working, eating, etc.
There is great power in this humble Sacrament. When it is done by the Pope, a Bishop or a Priest it has great effect over evil, because it carries the apostolic anointing.
The sign of the cross is not restricted for use by priests only, so we lay people can benefit immensely from this blessing if we treat it with due respect; by this we acknowledge the Presence of God in our lives in all things.
We make a sign of the cross as we remember that Jesus was crucified for our sins, and we also invoke the Holy Trinity which is the triple holy name of God.
We should do this blessing with meditation and reverence, since this is a quick door to the Presence of God, this is calling God to bless our works and it is also an exorcism prayer.
As we do the sign of the cross we attack the devil who is reminded of Jesus crucified, he fears the memory of Jesus the Living God who attained His greatest victory over sin and death, and Who crushes his head by the cruel sufferings and the martyrdom of the cross.
We may also meditate on the holy wounds of Jesus as we bless our selves and move our hands over us. We can ask Jesus to purify us with His holy wounds and to imprint them on our souls to destroy our lives of sin.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;
I believe there is a God who has created me and the whole universe, I acknowledge that He is full of Power, Wisdom and Love, He is the author of everything that exists.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;
I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Messiah, the Anointed One, He is the only begotten of God, eternally united to Him, He is the Word of God, true man and true God, He has received power over all creation as Lord because He is our Saviour.
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
I believe that the Word of God was clothed with flesh and became a man for the purpose of our Salvation, He was conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I believe that Jesus the Son of Mary is the Son of God.
Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
I believe that Jesus Christ renounced all His divinity in order to suffer for us, He took upon Himself the punishment due for our sins and died as any ordinary human being.
He descended into hell;
I believe that after Jesus died, He went to the place where all the dead were before His death, He went there to free the captives who had not received their redemption yet.
On the third day He arose again from the dead.
I believe that Jesus overcame death by the power of His resurrection. The three days is a sign to the believers, a confirmation of the holiness of his words. He destroyed death because He was sinless and death is the price for our sins. He died so that we can live eternally through His resurrection.
He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty;
I believe in the faithfulness of Jesus, Who sits at the right hand of God as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, there He prepares a place for our souls and sends the Holy Spirit to give us Hope and Trust in Him.
From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Second coming of Christ in Glory, I believe that after we die we will be judged and I also believe in the final judgment for everyone.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
I believe in the third person of Holy Trinity who has made us temples of His Glory, I believe that the Holy Spirit is God our advocate, teacher and consoler. He is the Spirit of Love and Peace of the Father and the Son.
The Holy Catholic Church,
I believe that Jesus founded His Church on Peter the rock, and that this Church still stands by the power of His words through apostolic succession today, I believe that we must submit to the teachings of the Magisterium of the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church.
The communion of Saints,
I believe that the Church is the body of Christ, He is the head and we are the members. By the Grace of God we remain in His Spirit and enter in communion with the souls of those who have gone before Him. I believe in the triumphant Church in Heaven made up of all the saints in Christ, I believe in the suffering Church of those who are being purified in Purgatory, and I believe in the militant Church made up of all the baptised who are living their lives for God here on earth.
The forgiveness of sins,
I believe that all sins committed, except those against the Holy
Spirit can be forgiven because Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the
I believe in the power for the forgiveness of sins given by Christ to the Apostles and continued by apostolic succession to all Roman Catholic and Orthodox priests, in the Sacrament of Penance where we are reconciled with God.
The resurrection of the body and life everlasting.
I believe in the Words of Christ who said I will raise you up on the last day. I believe in His promises of eternal life.
Our Father who art in Heaven
hollowed be Thy name:
Lord you are the King of the Universe, may you be glorified by all your creation, holy, holy, holy Lord, Heaven and earth are full of your Glory, Hosanna in the Highest, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the Highest.
Thy Kingdom come:
May Peace, Love and Joy reign in our hearts, may your Kingdom of Justice, truth and integrity reign over the land.
Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven:
May we become your slaves of Love and accept your Will because your will is perfect. Not my will Lord, but yours be done.
Give us this day our daily bread:
Generous Father, grant us our daily physical and spiritual bread. Feed our bodies and feed our souls with the bread of life.
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us:
We repent of our sins and ask you to forgive us, in your holy name we forgive those who have sinned against us, cleanse our hearts from all resentments.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen
We acknowledge how weak we are Lord, please protect us from all evil. Amen.
Hail Mary full of Grace,
Most Holy Virgin Mary, I salute you and
I praise you because you are full of Grace, the favour of the Lord rests in your heart,
God has visited His people, thanks to you.
The Lord is with Thee,
God has come down from Heaven through you, and now He is always with you, may I also be with you to enjoy His Presence forever.
Blessed are Thou among women
Mother Mary, you have been chosen to be the Mother of God the Son, you deserve the Highest honours as Queen and Mistress of all Creation, may all generations exalt you for your holiness and perfect model. I unite myself to their praise of you.
and Blessed is the fruit of Thy womb. Jesus
You are the tree of life and your fruit is the food of our souls, the bread of life. I bless Jesus the fruit of your womb and I ask you to take me into your Immaculate Heart so that I can be spiritual fruit of your union with God. Take me as your child, so that I can be a child of God.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
God is Holy and He has come from his holy sanctuary, to bless us and to save us. You are the mother of Jesus who is God, I bless you Holy Mary, Mother of God, mother of all the children of God, my mother.
Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Mother Mary I confess that you are the Immaculate Conception, you are the sealed fountain of the Living Waters of Salvation. We are sinners and we seek refuge in your maternal love. Pray for us now and at the hour of the great temptation.
GLORY TO YOU GOD THE FATHER. Supreme King, Creator of the Heavens and the earth. Glory to You Supreme Omnipotence, Glory to You, Fountain of Love and Eternal Wisdom, glory to You, Highest Infinite Majesty.
Glory to You, abundant fountain of Existence, glorious cause without cause. Glory to You, Divine Promise and final Goal of all Your Children, Whose Name is reason for Praise and Fear.
Glory to You Sovereign God, beyond the description of our limited human intellect, but closer than our own breath. Glory to You God, Author of what has been created and sustaining Spirit of the physical and spiritual universe.
My Father, I adore You with all the strength of my heart, my mind, my soul and my Spirit.
Celestial Father, Come reign in our hearts!
GLORY TO YOU GOD THE SON OF THE CELESTIAL FATHER, my most loved Lord Jesus Christ. God the Son, begotten of the Father in His Eternal Womb, God born man of the Holy Virgin Mary through the conception of the Holy Spirit, Incarnate Eternal Wisdom. God and King of all the creatures of the Father.
Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world through the only sacrifice worthy to the Father for the redemption of mankind.
Glory to You, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, offered daily in all altars throughout the world in reparation of our sins.
Glory to You, "Eternal Fountain of Mercy and Love" that grows in the hearts of those who love You. Glory to You Lord Jesus Christ in whose Sacred Heart our souls find refuge. Glory to You Most Beloved Jesus, through our devotion and consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Your blessed Mother, our advocate before You.
Son of The Eternal Father, my Lord and God, I love You with all the strength of my heart, my mind, my soul and my spirit.
Most beloved Jesus, Come reign in our hearts!
GLORY TO YOU GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT, Spirit of the Father and of the Son, Voice of the Wisdom of God, that spoke to the Patriarchs, to the Prophets, and to the Saints. Glory to You Holy Spirit, spiritual espouse of Mary, that overshadowed the Holy Virgin Mary as she conceived the Son of God, our Lord Jesus. Glory to You Holy Spirit, Incarnate Wisdom in Jesus Christ that with Your Divine Word left us food for our souls. Glory to You Divine Spirit of Pentecost, that enlightened the Virgin Mary and the apostles, to propagate the Kingdom of God in all hearts.
Glory to You Holy Spirit that guides and sustains the Church of Christ through your servants. Glory to You Holy Spirit, Spirit of prayer, fervour, consecration, penance, faith, hope, love to God and to our neighbour, mortification and detachment of the world. Glory to You Spirit of anxiety for the House of the Father.
I love You with all the strength of my heart, my mind, my soul and my Spirit.
Holy Spirit, Come reign in our hearts!
God desires that we establish a relationship with Him, He always speaks to us even though we don't know it, He has given us our conscience as a voice that tells us what is good and what is bad. He guides us with the Holy Spirit and He teaches us the way to go, He has sent His Son to redeem us and to establish the true way to Him.
Jesus founded His Church on the Apostles and we have learned about our faith through the teachings of the Church.
But faith starts within, as a flame that needs to be fuelled, it hungers for knowledge it hopes to come closer to its goal which is to be united to God. After all this is the plan of God, that we know Him, love Him and serve Him.
Through prayer we can cultivate our faith, we can come closer to God, we can receive the knowledge and wisdom to know Him more intimately and ultimately we can love Him by accepting His commandments and by loving one another.
Prayer then is an expression of our faith, since by the virtue of piety we are moved to seek God, to please Him and to trust Him in all our needs.
Prayer is an act of trust, because we don't see God and yet we come to Him, it is like negotiating with someone who will give us a very great deal. Everything that comes from God is good, so we have nothing to lose when we come respectfully in prayer before Him, but we have so much to win.
Every prayer is listened to, although some prayers are not answered the way we expect. Perhaps we are not praying in accordance with the will of God, perhaps we are unknowlingly giving instructions to God. Let us be very humble when we pray, so that our prayer does not become an insult.
In order to receive something from someone here on earth, we must be in good terms with that person, otherwise we don't stand a chance of receiving anything.
The same thing happens with God, we remember how the Lord accepted Abel's sacrifice which came from a heart full of love, but He rejected the offering of Cain because Cain was full of bitterness and self love [Genesis 4:3].
Jesus taught us that if we are bringing an offering, and on the way to the altar we remember that someone has something against us, we must forget about the offering until we reconcile with our brother. The offering we are discussing here is our prayer and the altar is the heart. [Matthew 5:23].
This is one of the main reasons why we fail to obtain what we want in prayer, we are not obeying the commandments of God and He does not want to listen to us.
Sin is like a wall that stands between God and us, we build up this wall of indifference and sinfulness and we deny ourselves the goodness of God which is Light [Isaiah 59:2]. When we live in sin we live in darkness, we are so blind that we can not see, we hate our brother and we then expect to be at peace with God. So in this position we are wasting our time.
We must repent, we must change our lives of sin for lives of Grace and Holiness. We must leave the darkness to walk in the Light, we must love one another so that we can prove to God that we love Him.
It is horrible to have to stand before God's justice with a heart soiled by sin, so we must confess our sins and appeal to His Mercy before we can confidently ask for anything else, since God does not listen to sinners [John 9:31].
We can pray with our lips and mean something else, we can even pray mentally but have our minds watching images irrelevant to our prayers. We are only wasting our time then.
When we pray we must live our prayer, we must use our eyes to see ourselves before God, kneeling and pleading with Him. We must hear silence around us, so that our prayer will be the total focus of our minds. We must enter into the altar of the heart and with the greatest reverence approach God's Majesty because this is our private audience with the King.
Every word that we say or think must be understood clearly, we must follow the meaning in our hearts, we must give full expression to our needs as if it was the only chance we have to talk to God.
We must pray slowly in order to live what we are saying, we can only do this if we are enjoying our prayer. Therefore we have to give ourselves time for our prayers.
To enjoy our prayer is like when we are eating something delicious, we don't want to hurry up because it will soon be over, therefore let us try to enjoy every word of our prayer, let every heart beat be dedicated totally to God.
We are very prone to fail if we leave our prayers for the last minutes of the day, when the body is tired and sleepy, when we lack concentration and when our offering is just a left over of our time. Many come to pray when they have finished watching T.V. and is time to be asleep, when their minds are full of garbage, so that mental images and distractions will make prayer from the heart impossible.
Does God deserve this? Does not the Lord have asked for tithing, referring not only to physical contributions to His Church, but also with our lives and time. Tithing means a contribution of a ten per cent, Does the Lord perhaps also demand ten per cent of our time to be dedicated to Him?
This is why the saints used to wake up early in the morning before sunrise to praise the Lord our maker, to thank Him for the gifts of life, to present to Him the offering of their works and to ask Him for whatever things they needed [Job 1:5 -Ecclesiasticus 39:6-8]
Our Lord also prayed early in the morning before sunlight in a quiet place [Mark 1:35]
Besides starting the day with that eagerness to pray, the saints would pray without ceasing as St. Paul recommends because they longed to live always in the Presence of God [1 Thessalonians 5:17].
If we want to pray from the heart we must consider that in this kind of prayer we must raise our souls before the Lord, we must soar above the material world, enter into our spirits and present ourselves with humility before God.
God knows about our sinfulness before we confess it and yet He requires that we come to Him with a humble and contrite heart to ask Him to forgive us. This way we can prove to Him that we have sincerely repented.
In the same way, God knows what we need before we ask Him, He does not need us to remind Him but for the purpose of our sanctification He desires that we come humbly to ask Him, He wants us to be spiritual in order to become more like Him Who is Spirit.
The prayer from the heart is the same as a candle burning, which produces light. The fire of our prayer enkindles the fire of our love, which burns with such intensity that it produces the light of our love, therefore being able to reach God Who is Light. If we live in darkness our darkness can not reach God.
When we pray we must bend the knees of our souls and stretch the hands of our spirits to embrace God. We must enter into the spiritual realm for a while, so that our prayers can echo the entreaties of our souls.
Those who pray in a hurry, are not very interested in the results of their prayers, they pray hoping to please God when in fact they are offending Him. They don't mean what they say and their prayers are very superficial, they come indeed only from their lips when their hearts are so far away from God [Matthew 15:8].
To pray from the heart we must really pour out our souls before the Lord like Hannah who was barren and prayed to the Lord, she prayed with tears of supplication in her eyes and she made vows to the Lord. [1 Samuel 1:13-15] He answered her and She conceived a child whom she named Samuel.
God is our Father and we must know Him well, we must love Him and we must serve Him too by serving others.
To know God we must also know ourselves, because the more we know ourselves, the more despicable and ungrateful we discover that we are. The lower we go in our humility, the higher we will perceive God Who is the Highest. So we truly must decrease so that God may increase [John 3:30]. We must discover our darkness and accept it with shame in order to discover the great Light of God. Jesus said plainly you must deny yourselves in order to become my disciples, this calls for a life of detachment from all created things in order to possess God the uncreated Spirit, we must count everything worthless in order to possess Christ [Philippians 3:8]. We must renounce our lives of sinfulness in order to live a life of Grace in Christ.
To obtain knowledge of God we can study the Holy Scriptures and we can read the lives of the Saints, but the greatest knowledge can be given directly by God Himself if we live a close relationship with God, since He has promised to teach us [Psalm 32:8] and we have received knowledge with His anointing in baptism [1 John 2:20]. All there is to know is contained in the Word of God, and we can also receive knowledge and wisdom if we pray for it [James 1:5].
To love God we must obey His commandments [John 14:21], we must reject the teachings of the world who lives by worldly standards, we must become familiar with the ten commandments, we must confess our sins personally to a priest regularly [at least once a month], we must receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist worthily, we must pray constantly and offer our daily works as prayers to the Lord, we must concentrate on becoming holy, because that is the Will of God; we must accept hardships and trials, because they are given by God as the cross, and above all:
"We must love God with all our hearts, with all our minds, with all our souls and with all our strength" [Matthew 22:37-40]
To serve God we must practice Charity. The perfection of love is found in Charity and Mercy, the Lord commands us to be merciful as the Heavenly Father is merciful, this compels us to help those in need. By loving those in need, specially those who can not repay us like for example total strangers, we are indeed loving God [Matthew 10:42].
On the final day we will be rewarded according to how we have treated our brothers and sisters, and much will depend on how we served God in others [Matthew 25:34-40].
St. James says that faith without works is dead [James 2:26], so besides a life of prayer, we are called to be filled with knowledge of the Lord through study and we are also called to practice Charity.
Mother Teresa was the living example of Charity in our times, she cared for the poor with so much love because she would see Jesus in the needs of those who were suffering.
Some of the greatest acts of Charity are done through prayer. As we pray for the needs of others we are practicing spiritual charity, we are interceding for their needs and we are giving them the love we have in our hearts.
Great Charity is practiced when we pray on behalf of the souls in Purgatory, since they can not pray for themselves any more, we can also pray for the well being of others and for their specific needs or intentions. This is also Charity.
Prayer combined with fasting and giving alms are very powerful weapons against evil, they are great tools indeed for our sanctification.
Back in the Old Testament, the people of God made their offerings to God of all the good things that the earth produced as an act of thanksgiving. If they were farmers they would bring samples of the best of their crops, if they were shepherds, they would select unblemished animals and offer them to the Lord in a burning sacrifice.
This need to make offerings to God, is our acknowledgment of God's goodness, by our offering we thank God for all the benefits we continually receive from Him.
Sacrifices became the way to offer atonement for our sins, a high priest would conduct the ceremonies that would cleanse the people from their sinfulness and reconcile them with God.
In the New Testament, Jesus came to put a stop to the sacrifices of animals in atonement for our sins. He, the Lamb of God, offered Himself as a living sacrifice for the forgiveness of the whole human race.
He is the Hight Priest of the order of Melchizedech, offering Himself as the victim for the sacrifice at the same time being the holy altar. By His death on the cross we have been redeemed of our sins and He has merited eternal life for us, by His resurrection He has conquered death and merited for the baptised, resurrection and eternal life in Him. His priesthood is eternal and continues with the anointed priests of the Church who continue to offer Him in the consecrated form of bread and wine.
He has purified us as living offerings by cleansing us with His Precious Blood, so that we too can offer our lives to God. [Romans 12:1]
We can live for God by offering our lives to Christ, in doing that we become consecrated to Him, in other words we start belonging to Him as we accept the merits of His redemptive work.
In Christ we obtain our sanctification by the continuous offering of our daily occupations provided we remain faithful to His Commandments and generous in our charity.
Consecration of our lives to Christ becomes very powerful when we become frequent communicants in the Holy Eucharist, when we live a discipline of prayer and good works and most specially when we consecrate ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh, Jesus is the Word, Jesus is God. We honour the Blessed Virgin Mary with the title "Mother of God", because She is the Mother of Jesus, the Word of God Who became flesh. She is also the new Eve, the mother of all the living, by this we mean those who are entering eternal life in God through Jesus her Son.
She has been entrusted with the maternal task of mothering the children of God, by this unique privilege and at the same time responsibility, She is very anxious to help us to achieve a life worthy of Christ. By her maternal influence She brings us closer to the Son, She intercedes for us to receive the Holy Spirit and She cares personally as a mother cares for her sons and daughters.
When we consecrate our lives to the Blessed Virgin Mary, we actually put ourselves in her hands, we give ourselves entirely to Her and become truly little children as the Lord requests, assured that this holy mother will help us to obtain our salvation.
St. Louis de Monfort has provided the Church with his unique writings about Our Lady; in his teachings we learn to do everything through Mary, with Mary, in Mary and for Mary.
When we are consecrated to Our Lord and to Our Lady, we no longer belong to ourselves but to God. The Holy Spirit will teach us how to live our consecration.
Mother Mary asks us to pray the Holy Rosary and through this chain of prayer She binds us to Her Immaculate Heart.
The gift of life is given to us one moment at a time. Every beat of our hearts is a reminder that God the author of Life cares for us, it is as if God is saying to us: I love you, I love you, I love you.... Life has been given in the realm of time and although it may span for a length of seventy, eighty years or more, life consists of one single moment at a time in other words life is now, this is why St. Paul says the moment for your Salvation is now [2 Corinthians 6:2].
And our lives can be very happy or very miserable depending on how we spend the present moment. He also says, rejoice in the Lord always [Philippians 4:4] and I say again rejoice, so we live our lives in hope of obtaining our Salvation and we are called to persevere in our constancy until the final day of rest in the Lord.
Second by second, time rolls into eternity, likewise prayer by prayer we come closer and closer to the final goal which is to be forever in the Presence of God.
There are times when our prayers may not mean much, in this aridity of the soul we are tempted to give up our religious practices. It may seem that we are wasting our time because we don't find our rewards instantly. But if we slacken our devotions we run into the danger of being cold, and how difficult it is to be warm in our faith again.
The Lord allows the souls to enter into these periods of abandonment by God so that we may learn to value the gift we possess. We truly know much more how good something is when we lose it than when we are enjoying it since a lot of times we take things for granted. Even Jesus Himself experienced this abandonment and He asked the Heavenly Father " why have you forsaken me? "[Matthew 27:46]
Jesus persevered in His prayer, as we can see in the garden of Ghetsemane He prayed three times to the Father that if it was possible His cup of suffering would be removed from Him.
Many times people give up praying because they feel that God is not responding and somehow they get angry with God, this can only make things worse. We have to pray with the perseverance of St. Monica who prayed for her son Augustine to be converted. So it took 16 years of perseverance of the saint to obtain not only the conversion for her son but He became a bishop and then a saint.
Our Lord rewards us for our perseverance, we have the example of the canaanite woman in the gospels who was begging the Lord to heal her daughter, but the Lord refused to heal her for a while intending to prove her faith and perseverance, finally the Lord rewarded her [Matthew 15:22-28].
So we are encouraged to pray daily and come before God as often as we can, until we learn to live in His Presence even here.
We have the testimony of all the saints who endured great hardships to attain the final joy of Salvation, and our Lord Jesus Christ Who endured every moment of His life praying and suffering until His death for us.
1 And therefore we also having so great
a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us,
let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us:
2 Looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who having joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God.
As we come to learn the great truths of our faith, we must penetrate them, we must read about them, study them, meditate them and by this act of respect for what is holy, the Lord will reward us with His Holy Spirit shining His Light upon our ignorance and darkness.
Meditation is to the Word of God what digestion is to food. Food is no good for us unless we digest it; digestion of our spiritual food is a process that takes place in secret as with all the things of God.
When we meditate our prayers or the Word of God, we must take every word and expand it, we must try to find the spiritual meaning which is always more profound than the superficial definition of words.
This is why we must pray from the heart, we must take up prayer seriously because it is very powerful. In fact, prayer can change events and draw the power of God who is willing to please us if what we ask is in accordance with His Holy Will [1 John 5:14-15].
We must follow the example of Mary to whom were revealed so many wonderful things, who received rewards for her humility and for her prayers and who always pondered the things of God in her heart [Luke 2:19].
Deeper than meditation is the state of contemplation, we can enter into it when we ponder the things of God with zeal, when we leave the body and mind behind and pour out our souls to the Lord with complete surrender.
To be able to enter into contemplation we need to enjoy being with God more than anything else, this sublime state has been reached by the mystics who truly loved God with all their hearts, minds and souls.
Contemplation in its beginnings starts with deep prayer, profound meditation, adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, detachment from the world and complete humility.
As a dry sponge is placed in water and becomes saturated completely, so we must immerse ourselves in God until He fills our beings, this may take us out of our sense of time, space and reality, this is also called a state of ecstasy.
A total submission to the Holy Spirit may take the soul into unknown spiritual realms, St. Paul entered into the third heaven but he never knew if He was there in body or in spirit, He simply gave himself to the Spirit [2 Corinthians 12:2]. In the same way St. Peter experienced the power of the Spirit of God when he walked on water at the invitation of Jesus [Matthew 14:29].
We are all invited to experience the Love of the Spirit of God, the Spirit and the bride say, come all of you who are thirsty [Revelation 22:17], implying that the wonderful gifts of God are given to those who are thirsty for the Living waters of His Spirit.
When we pray we come before God and we are given an opportunity to complain, to ask for our needs or to intercede for others. But is this all there is about prayer?
To pray is not only to ask, it is also to converse with God, therefore our prayers must be of different kinds, we will discuss further on about prayers of repentance, praise, adoration and worship, thanksgiving and petitions.
The Lord says, ask and you shall be given, but before we consider asking we should first consider what the Lord is asking of us.
The Lord requires that we act with justice, love tenderly and walk humbly in His Presence [Micah 6:8], in other words He wants us to keep the commandments and to love one another.
Once we feel that we can come to Him with a humble and contrite heart, then we are in a position to utter our prayers with great confidence.
Many times we don't obtain what we ask because we are asking for things that will harm us, this is why a father does not allow his four year old to cross a street full of traffic even if the child cries for it. Another reason why we don't receive is because we ignore the gifts that God wants to give us.
The Lord says " if you who are evil know how to give good things to your children, how much more will the Heavenly Father give you the HOLY SPIRIT [Luke 11:13] if you ask Him."
If we ask for the Holy Spirit, we will be given the knowledge to ask for what is right, we will know how to pray according to God's Will [1 John 5:14-15] and the Lord will answer us.
Another very helpful consideration when we pray is to ask for the needs of others and to rely on the goodness of God for our personal needs since He already knows what we are lacking. He says that we should not worry, He advises us to seek the Kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness first and then everything else will be given to us [Matthew 6:33]
When we pray we must also pray for the Will of God to be done first, since many situations are part of our affliction and training, many sufferings are there to mould us, to make us patient, humble and holy.
Let us never reject the Will of God, but pray humbly when we are afflicted, since we have the right to pray for our burdens to be relieved, after all the Lord says "cast all your burdens unto me because I care for you" [1 Peter 5:7] He also wants us to come to Him when we feel that we are heavily burdened [Matthew 11:28], promising rest for our souls.
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Acknowledgment. All Bible quotations taken from the Douay Rheims Bible 1582
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