I have a problem with prayer


I have a problem with prayer. My wife gave me a list of prayers to memorize fifteen years ago. I have only succeeded to memorize only half of the Our Father. In church, I have a hard time keeping up and never sure what the next responses is. Now days, I do not say anything. I just watch and listen. Just before my son’s bedtime, my wife and son go's though about a dozen prayers. Some of the prayers are in Latin. They are fast. I just sit there and wait.

When it comes to prayer, I do not know what to say or do. Before I met my wife, I know almost nothing about religion. I’m going though the RCIA this year and wonder if I need to be able to do all this prayer stuff before being baptized?

Thanks. [dan]


Be at peace. :)

Pray from your heart... speak to Christ as if he's your friend or your brother. He's listening and isn't going to test you on your memorization skills.

These things come with repetition and practice... all in time. This isn't a "test" you have to pass.

However, there are ways to help...
You can get a Catholic Missal at any local Catholic Bookstore (call your parish for locations)... although, with the upcoming changes to the Mass you may want to wait for the newer editions coming out next year. Missals go through the entire Mass and have all the prayers written out.
Also, there are great prayer booklets you can purchase that take you through the prayers of the Rosary...

But other than that, just take it easy on yourself. Time and practice will help with the memorization, but prayer itself doesn't always need to be formatted. Pray from your heart - that's the best way to start. And if you want to pray with your family - just bring the written prayers with you and read them!


[quote="Em_in_FL, post:2, topic:222566"]
Be at peace. :)

Pray from your heart... speak to Christ as if he's your friend or your brother. He's listening and isn't going to test you on your memorization skills.

These things come with repetition and practice... all in time. This isn't a "test" you have to pass.


I agree.

This reminds me of when the Lord called upon Moses, and Moses was worried because he had never been eloquent in speech.* "The LORD said to him, 'Who gives one man speech and makes another deaf and dumb? Or who gives sight to one and makes another blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Go, then! It is I who will assist you in speaking and will teach you what you are to say.'" *

“You don’t know how to pray? Put yourself in the presence of God, and as soon as you have said, ‘Lord, I don’t know how to pray!’ you can be sure you’ve already begun.” -Saint Josemaría Escrivá


Prayer is lifting our hearts and minds to God.
Prayer is not a matter of memorization, but of intent and reverence. It is conversation with God that involves listening as well as speaking.
My parish has a monthly enriching the faith program after the Saturday evening Mass. This month was on the liturgical calendar taught by the pastor. In speaking about prayer, he said he seldom becomes angry. The one thing that will anger him is "racing through prayer."

He enjoys prayer and when the people he is with race through prayer, it prevents him from praying. Again, prayer should be slow and reverent. It is not a matter of memorized formulas.

I was only given one week to prepare for First Communion. I knew the required prayers because my family prayed the rosary daily. Memorization for me comes less from trying than from repeating. Most of the prayers, such as the prayers for the rosary, are written. Take your time, reading the prayers as you pray. You will find in time that the prayers become a part of who you are, and you will no longer need to look at the words.
Do start with the rosary. The basic prayers of the rosary are used in other prayers as well, such as the Angelus. Don't worry about memorizing the mysteries of the rosary. They will come in time. I still read the closing prayer for the Angelus, mostly because I fail to pray this prayer daily.
Other prayers, such as the Benedictus and Magnificat, come readily to mind because I pray Morning and Evening Prayer.


Does your parish not have a book in the pew with the days readings and the prayers and responses for the Eucharist etc. in it?

If it does, you should not feel ashamed to pull it out and follow along. Following along with the readings often helps me to pay attention more (instead of being distracted by something/somebody else) and has the added benefit of me obtaining a better understanding from them.

If you just stand there and don't participate, it will be much harder for you to really hear the individual words that are being said.

Also, perhaps you could ask your wife to print out copies of the prayers that she and your son say each evening. Ask her to slow down. Rushing through prayer isn't really a good thing anyways. Then you could follow along with those as well. I would think she would be excited about your attempts and willingness to join in, and would do whatever she can to help you.

God Bless


Hi Dan

I was also going to recommend a missal, with the order of the Mass in it. You can read along and the responses are right there. If you have an iPhone or iPod, there are also apps with the missal and prayers!! I keep mine handy, I never really learned some of the prayers like the Memorare, so I use it for those. I sometimes wonder if people think I am in the pew checking my email, LOL!!!

For me, it helps my memory when I read and write things out -- maybe a form of prayer for you could be to copy out, by hand, perhaps the Our Father?

Also, one last thing, I think it can really help to close your eyes. If you are less distracted by things around you, you can really focus on the words. Even at Mass, I find that if I have my eyes closed, I am less likely to forget my place or flub the words of, for example, the Nicene Creed.

Good luck!!


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