Conversational prayer (what makes it a REAL prayer?)

Ok so I have 2 kind of, questions…

The first is, I’m a returning Catholic…so I’m working on learning all the prayers, the rosary…but like, those aside, I’ve always prayed in a ‘conversational’ manner…you know what I mean?? Just like I’m speaking directly to Him, I thank Him for the day, for watching over my daughter and I, keeping us safe, healthy, and together…I pretty much go over my day with Him…ask for blessings for my family…loved ones…I always say prayers for all the babies…that kind of thing…is this sort of ‘conversational’ praying ok? I never have a problem with not knowing what to say, and its totally heartfelt…I usually end up crying because the connection I feel is so beautiful…whereas I have prayed some of the standard prayers, and felt like I was just reading a cue card?? Does this change? How much does it matter which way I pray?

Then, when my daughter was a baby I got her this stuffed bunny, with the hands sewn together like its praying, and when you squeeze the tummy it says:

“Now I lay me, down to sleep, I pray the Lord, my soul to keep, if I should die, before I wake, I pray the Lord, my soul to take, Amen’.”

My parish gave me a book, ‘My first prayers’ to read and learn with her, and that prayer, even though its so familiar…I’ve heard it multiple places before, wasnt in there? so…where did this come from? and is it ok for her to pray it? because shes totally mesmorized it, and everynite we start off with that, then I continue on as I stated before…

It’s perfectly fine! The small prayers throughout the day are what various Saints have called ejaculatory prayers. One of them that comes to mind right off is St. Josemaria Escriva. These small intercessions help to keep one’s mind focused on God.

As far as using the “standard prayers”… I’m a convert so at first, I felt, too, like I was reading from a cue card, until I started slowing down in reading the prayers, savored the words, and tried to get a mental picture of what the words were saying… I guess in some way I was practicing Lectio Divina (Sacred Reading) and didn’t know it at the time. I’ve found that praying the “set” prayers will lead into conversational (or vocal) prayers, and the vocal prayers will lead me to pray particular set prayers or to chose a particular book to practice Lectio with. Sometimes it will lead me to mental prayer… I best describe it as being quiet and basking in the presence of God, to be open to listen to Him.

For what it’s worth, I don’t usually pray the rosary very well… I say 53 Hail Mary’s and 5 Our Father’s and 5 Glory Be’s instead, and I personally feel like I’m praying from a cue card when attempting to pray the rosary. There are so many different types of prayer, and what works for some won’t work for others… but in my own experience I’ve found that one usually helps to make the others stronger and one feeds into another.


Hi Charlotte,

I think the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us about prayer very well. It devotes all of part four to it. Entitled ‘Christian Prayer’.

does anyone though, happen to know where the prayer I mentioned above comes from? by any chance?? Is that ok for her to pray?? Reason I ask is, that, its not ‘conversational’…it is a prayer…and if its not a catholic prayer…idk I just dont want her praying something that maybe she shouldnt…even though it doesnt seem harmless…just curious…

About conversational prayers, as you call them, I´d stay away from them, especially if you are a convert, or at the very least not have them be the only prayers you make. C.S. Lewis devotes some attention to the matter in his Screwtape Letters, where a senior devil advises his nephew to steer his ‘patient’ towards purely emotional, wordless prayer. Augustine, too, in his Confessions, taught that pure ‘spiritual’ relations with God are intercepted and manipulated by Satan terribly easily. It may ‘feel’ like a cue card, but those prayers are instituted by the Church herself. Religion is not always fun. C.S. Lewis makes a comparison to the sea. If we are in Britain, and heaven is represented by, say, Newfoundland, it is going to be a lot more fun to walk by the beach and imagine getting to the other side, but a great deal more useful to start looking at a dry, unexciting map. That is my advice.

As for that short little petition, I personally do not see any problems with it. It is not exactly a Pater Noster or an Ave Maria, but it’s not praying for the conversion of Satan or the like.

One more note. You ask how much it matters how you pray. There are few things in life that matter more. The blessings made by a priest over bread and wine (a form of prayer) can either transubstantiate them into the living body and blood of Our Lord, or fail to do so by some omission and tempt a congregation into idolatry. Should we pray without ever putting ourselves into a posture of submission, we are telling a lie with our bodies about our relationship with God. And, of course, if we are ‘spiritual and not religious,’ we open ourselves up to diabolical manipulation. Prayer matters, every bit of it.

My mom used to pray that prayer with us when we were little before going to sleep. I am a cradle Catholic and so is my mom. I am not sure where it came from, but there is nothing heretical about it, and it is fine to pray. :slight_smile:

Good luck on your journey back!

I have a “Catholic Book of Prayers” and the “Now I lay me down . . .” is there under the section for children’s prayers.

I too recommend a thorough and prayerful reading of the section in the Catechism devoted to Christian Prayer. It was a fresh and exciting revelation and inspired new levels of devotion.

All my best . . .

I don’t think there is anything wrong with the prayer. When I did a search for you all I could find was that Wiki says it is an 18th century children’s prayer and that it was printed in the New England Primer.

I love the Rosary, and try to savor the words and the mysteries, which is a lot already, but sometimes the mind does wander. As long as we don’t let the mind wander but keep refocusing, we’re putting out part in, and God will bless it. I find if I watch where my distractions are going, it seems like God is leading me even in the distractions, deeper into his will for my life. and it’s beautiful!! The Rosary really is powerful. Keep at it, and God changes you. little by little. He’s still working on me :D.

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