Advice For Praying


#1

I need advice brothers and sisters. I have a terrible prayer life, terrible terrible. I seldom pray during the week, (I do, just seldom,) and pray at Church. I want my Faith to increase, I want my prayer life to improve, I want my relationship with God to blossom, as He’s my husband, and I His wife, spiritually that is :slight_smile:

So, my mother-in-law has gotten me a rosary cassette tape, and I’m going to listen to it on the way to work tomorrow, get all the prayers memorized very well, and say it along with those on the cassette. I also am going to buy a headphone set and listen to it at night, in bed, etc. Is this ok? Is this a good way to get into the habit of praying?

See, I have OCD and a very easily distracted mind. I lose focus quickly, and usually because of my Obsessive Compulsion Disorder. It makes it SOOOOOO difficult to pray alone and by myself. I feel I need this, I hope it’ll be ok and a good idea.


#2

I recommend a couple of books by Peter Kreeft:

Prayer For Beginners
Prayer: The Great Conversation


#3

Check out the series on distractions in prayer here - very good resources to overcome this challenge.


#4

I just talked with my priest about deepening my prayer life, and he gave me some good advice. He said I should put myself on a schedule for a week at a time, and evaluate at the end of the week how well it worked. So, I am working out that schedule as we speak. I’ve gathered several ideas from both Catholic and non-Catholic sources. Here are a few things worth trying:
*My priest mentioned that a dedicated space for personal prayer works great for a lot of people. I have a prayer space with a black & white photo of a crucifix in a jeweled frame, a holder for tealights, a bowl for monetary offerings that I later take to church, family pictures, and a box for sacred bits & bobs including a rosary. Some folks are uncomfortable calling theirs an “altar,” including myself. I call it a “prayer space” or “sacred space.” My blog, integritysabitch.blogspot.com, has entries and pictures from setting up this space.
*I saw an article on improving one’s meditation practice that said “wake, pee, meditate.” That means to spend time meditating (or in my case, in prayer) before doing anything else in the morning. This would be a good time to do a rosary. If spend 20 minutes on prayer before anything else, that means you’ll always “get around to it” no matter what the day holds.
*I also find it difficult to concentrate at times (depression/anxiety), so short spontaneous prayers throughout the day work better for me than long prayer sessions. Try catching yourself whenever you feel worried, anxious, annoyed, bored, etc. and offering it up.
*Pray when you’re waiting for things–the doctor’s office, the grocery line, the DMV, etc. Since you’re very interested in the rosary, you may want to have one that you keep in your purse for this purpose. It can be a single decade rosary or a rosary ring or bracelet if you think it would be weird pulling out a big string of beads in line at the grocery. You can also use simpler, shorter prayers or just pray spontaneously. When my 10-year-old son says he’s bored, I’ve taken to telling him “tell God you’re bored and ask Him what you should be doing.”
*Pray with other people, especially your husband and children if you have any. It sounds like your mother in law would also be a good choice. Join a prayer or rosary group in your community. If there’s not one, start one. This can help your feelings of being alone, and it will provide you with a schedule.
*A Bahai friend of mine has a “shower prayer” that struck me as interesting. As she washes her face, she prays to see the face of God in everyone she meets. As she washes her hands, she prays that she will be useful in God’s work. And it goes on. The point is that you can and should pray in any place at any time. I sing hymns in the shower.
*Keep a prayer journal. I keep holy cards, printouts of prayers, and a notebook for my intentions and reflections in a binder in my prayer space. I also write out my examination of conscience and take it with me to confession.
*Receive the sacraments of reconciliation and eucharist as often as you can. I’m aiming for twice monthly confession and I would like to add weekday mass at least once or twice a week. People also get a lot out of adoration, and I’m embarassed to admit I’ve never been, but I would like to check it out.
It’s awesome that you’re so “into” the rosary. I get a lot out of it, especially the luminous mysteries suggested by JPII. I think it’s a great idea to put your headphones on in bed and to listen to it in your car, but I should say that I think driving precludes the necessary meditative component. Carve out some time at home, even if you just do the rosary a decade at a time. Make sure you also engage in prayer outside the rosary. www.beginningcatholic.com and www.catholicdoors.com have some great resources for prayer.

Keep us updated on how you’re doing!
God bless,
-S-


#5

My dear friend

It’s a great idea. Prayer is any form of communication with God. A desire to pray is prayer. If you do all out of a motive of love for God and for God ( it does not matter how you feel either ) all will be turned into prayer, even sleep. Prayer is the life blood of the soul. Without prayer the soul whithers and dies. Be sure to put much love into your prayer as this is what God wants. Love is an act of the will, it’s wanting and desiring what is best for another. Love can come with emotions but does not always. If you don’t feel good and pray anyway then you are expressing the greatest form of love to God you can - sacrificial love. This love is divine.

God bless and peace to you:thumbsup::slight_smile:


#6

Since OCD is a problem for you, be sure that you decide not only to set apart some time for prayer daily but also decide how much time to pray, so that you don’t obsess whether you’re spending too little time in prayer. I know of a person who has OCD who has to pray for at least two hours daily to feel she’s prayed enough. That’s too much for most people, and not a good place to start. I suggest 30 minutes to start. A spiritual director or prayer partner would be a good idea too, so that you can get someone else’s feedback about your prayer.

What type of prayer? The rosary is a wonderful way to pray, particularly if you learn to do the meditations. It takes some practice, but you can do it. There are also some Scriptural Rosary booklets that help with meditation by providing bible verses for each Mystery. Very easy to follow and a nice way to pray the rosary, especially as you get started.

Reading the bible (for example, a chapter a day or the readings for the daily mass) is also a good practice. “Magnificat,” a monthly publication, structures daily prayer around daily bible readings and prayers appropriate for the liturgical season (such as Lent, Easter, Advent, etc.) You simply read the readings prayerfully and think about what you’ve read, perhaps adding your own personal prayers.

God bless! Prayer will be challenging, but it’s worth the effort.


#7

Good advice - given the challenges I think vocal prayer is likely to be helpful


closed #8

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