Help needed with prayer mechanics


#1

I feel a bit of a fool asking this question because it seems to be so elementary.

I struggle tremendously with just *how *to go about praying for either someone or a group of someones. I’m not sure just how to go about explaining my difficulty, maybe an example would be best.

When hurricane Rita was approaching the shores of Texas, of course following the devistation of Katrina, I desired to pray. But how? I struggle with the mechanics of such a prayer.

If God’s will is going to be done, and I am not going to change his mind, just what can I say/ask/pray for?

Here is a typical scenario: I begin to pray, I begin to ponder just what to ask for. i.e why not ask God to simply totally disipate the hurricane? Make it instantly go away. Is it because this isn’t practical? Do I need to be practical? If practicality is a reasonable component, then where do I begin or end? Do I pray for no loss of life or property? Limited loss of life or property?

I fully realize this question may sound, if not a bit foolish, possibly sarcastic. I assure you it is not. I struggle very much with this in all my prayers of which I am asking for God’s help or intervention ( I think there is a name for this type prayer).

In lew (or is it lui) of not praying at all, my prayers usually go something like this:

Lord, your will will be done, thus I pray for (insert issue or person). Lord, you know better then I what I mean by “pray for”.


#2

I have 3 suggestions. 1) learn the rosary and offer it up for (fill in the blank) 2) read the book of Psalms there are many excellent prayers. 3) Mother Teresa was asked "What do you say to God when you pray? she said “I just listen”:yup:


#3

My advisor in seminary used to say that prayer was how he figured out what God wanted him to pray for. The struggle you are having is part of your prayer: defining how to approach “thy will be done.”


#4

the rosary is a wonderful prayer, and a wonderfully
comforting time for me…

but, most of my prayers, are simply me talking to
Jesus, my friend… my closest confidant… if you
think of God in that way, praying is easy… he doesn’t
require any particular form, only sincerity…

:slight_smile:


#5

There is nothing wrong with articulating specific petitions when you pray. We have as examples the Prayer of the Faithful in Mass (right after we recite the Creed), and we have the Our Father (which can be used as a model prayer) and the Hail Mary, both of which ask for specific things. Explicit petitionary prayer is biblical, as this example from Daniel 9 shows:

4
I prayed to the LORD, my God, and confessed, “Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, you who keep your merciful covenant toward those who love you and observe your commandments!
5
We have sinned, been wicked and done evil; we have rebelled and departed from your commandments and your laws.
6
We have not obeyed your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers, and all the people of the land.
7
Justice, O Lord, is on your side; we are shamefaced even to this day: the men of Judah, the residents of Jerusalem, and all Israel, near and far, in all the countries to which you have scattered them because of their treachery toward you.
8
O LORD, we are shamefaced, like our kings, our princes, and our fathers, for having sinned against you.
9
But yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness! Yet we rebelled against you
10
and paid no heed to your command, O LORD, our God, to live by the law you gave us through your servants the prophets.
11
Because all Israel transgressed your law and went astray, not heeding your voice, the sworn malediction, recorded in the law of Moses, the servant of God, was poured out over us for our sins.
12
You carried out the threats you spoke against us and against those who governed us, by bringing upon us in Jerusalem the greatest calamity that has ever occurred under heaven.
13
3 As it is written in the law of Moses, this calamity came full upon us. As we did not appease the LORD, our God, by turning back from our wickedness and recognizing his constancy,
14
so the LORD kept watch over the calamity and brought it upon us. You, O LORD, our God, are just in all that you have done, for we did not listen to your voice.
15
"Now, O Lord, our God, who led your people out of the land of Egypt with a strong hand, and made a name for yourself even to this day, we have sinned, we are guilty.
16
O Lord, in keeping with all your just deeds, let your anger and your wrath be turned away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain. On account of our sins and the crimes of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become the reproach of all our neighbors.
17
Hear, therefore, O God, the prayer and petition of your servant; and for your own sake, O Lord, let your face shine upon your desolate sanctuary.
18
Give ear, O my God, and listen; open your eyes and see our ruins and the city which bears your name. When we present our petition before you, we rely not on our just deeds, but on your great mercy.
19
O Lord, hear! O Lord, pardon! O Lord, be attentive and act without delay, for your own sake, O my God, because this city and your people bear your name!”

The best way to learn to pray is to listen to how others form their prayers. Then just start speaking to God in your own words – Greet him, acknowledge his goodness and power, confess your shortcomings in humility, thank him for all the good he has done for you, and ask him to supply your needs and the needs of those who are on your heart. This is commonly summarized by the acronym ACTS:

A- Adoration
C- Confession
T- Thanksgiving
S- Supplication


#6

Fr. Corapi has said that if you are having trouble with your prayers, the thing to do about it is…PRAY! Ask God to help you, and ask the Blessed Mother to be your guide. The Saints and the Angels all desire to be your prayer partner; all you have to do is ask.

Is practicality needed?
Nope. Pray for the rediculous, so that God can do the miraculous.

Is it worthwhile to pray that “all the bad stuff just goes away”?
I would recommend praying for those in despair to be filled with the grace of God, and that God’s Good may be brought about through the suffering they endure. I would pray for families to be open to the expressions of love that are required to tend to those in need. I would pray for healing. That said…pray for whatever you are compelled to pray for. I would have said that it was better to pray for something besides the walls of Jerico falling down or the sun stopping in the sky - and I would have been wrong, as these events demonstrated the phenominal power and glory of God.

Just don’t forget to pray for your own needs, and don’t forget to rely on God in your own life. If you get too caught up in praying for lofty things in the abstract, you will find that this is where God will go. If you pray for Him to be in your life and to lead you, He is faithful and will remain with you. You should not sacrifice the one for the other.

God Bless,
RyanL

P.S.
It’s “lieu”.


#7

Correct me if I’m wrong but do not the Holy Spirit offer the prayers up to the Father and thus perfecting them. Pray as a child. The fact that this is an issue can be good thing given by God to help you grow. At the same time don’t become a Pharisee concerned more over form than function

If I’m wrong I know Mercygate will beat me up


#8

I appreciate all the replies, they are helpful.
Allow me to approach the question a slightly different way.

If our prayers will not alter Gods will. Hence our prayer will not alter any course of action or non-action, what is the reason for such a prayer?

Thus my question has evolved from how to why. Why pray. I’m not refering to prayer of thanksgiving, or prayer that is an effort to maintain a relationship with God. I’m refering to prayers for people, for events.

Why pray for something?


#9

God wants us to bring every need, every desire, to Him. He already knows our hearts, but He wants us to express them to Him because in doing so we build a relationship with Him.

Also, I look at prayer in this way. God has infinite mercy and grace that He is waiting to shower on us. But He has given us free will, so He doesn’t shower it on us without us asking – we have to ask for it. We have to ask for it for ourselves and for others. Then His floodgates open and the mercy and grace shower down upon us! This is prayer.

So while we ask for the desires of our hearts, we also realize that God will do nothing that will put our souls in danger. His will for us might be different than our own, but we trust in His wisdom for our lives. So we always pray for His will to be done because He knows better than we do what we or someone else needs in their lives, and He knows to what degree we or someone else will cooperate with His grace.

Does this help?


#10

[quote=Mijoy2]I feel a bit of a fool asking this question because it seems to be so elementary.

I struggle tremendously with just *how *to go about praying for either someone or a group of someones. I’m not sure just how to go about explaining my difficulty, maybe an example would be best.

When hurricane Rita was approaching the shores of Texas, of course following the devistation of Katrina, I desired to pray. But how? I struggle with the mechanics of such a prayer.

If God’s will is going to be done, and I am not going to change his mind, just what can I say/ask/pray for?

Here is a typical scenario: I begin to pray, I begin to ponder just what to ask for. i.e why not ask God to simply totally disipate the hurricane? Make it instantly go away. Is it because this isn’t practical? Do I need to be practical? If practicality is a reasonable component, then where do I begin or end? Do I pray for no loss of life or property? Limited loss of life or property?

I fully realize this question may sound, if not a bit foolish, possibly sarcastic. I assure you it is not. I struggle very much with this in all my prayers of which I am asking for God’s help or intervention ( I think there is a name for this type prayer).

In lew (or is it lui) of not praying at all, my prayers usually go something like this:

Lord, your will will be done, thus I pray for (insert issue or person). Lord, you know better then I what I mean by “pray for”.
[/quote]

In prayer, remember Jesus’ words in the garden…

not my

will be done but thy will *

Rarely have truer words been spoken.


#11

Prayer is communication. If you had a best friend and he didn’t spend time with you, you wouldn’t be best friends for very long. It would cause a distance. Look at it like that. Don’t distance yourself from your best friend.


#12

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