mental prayer

What exactly is mental prayer and how do you pray this way?

I define mental prayer as prayer we say totally in our minds, i.e, non-spoken. This can include set prayers (that are thought out as opposed to spoken), spontaneous prayer, meditations, and contemplations,.

I have seen in used in different contexts to mean different things, so when discussing it, you need to make sure that all involved are in the same context.

[quote=mtb3]What exactly is mental prayer and how do you pray this way?
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just like mental math… 2+2=4… you can do that in your head, you don’t have to mouth or voice the words…

other mental math… pie are round NOT square… sorry, but i just had too… :thumbsup:

when you enter the field of describing different forms of prayer, you may run into terms that have more than one meaning or are used differently by other people, or even misused all together.

there is the Teresian (St. Teresa of Avila) form of mental prayer, of which you can learn from books by her and St. John of the Cross (and they use different terms, Teresa using more casual terms and John using more technical, theological-oriented terms).

there is also a very good Cistercian book on mental prayer called “The Ways of Mental Prayer” by Demitry V. Lehodey, from Tan Books. it’s a long read though.

in case if you’re interested, a good and short book on prayer is “How to Pray Always” by Raoul Plus, S.J.

To me, the term “mental prayer” is a distinction from “vocal prayer.”

Vocal prayers are all the prayers we all say - the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Glory Be, the Creed, the Hail Holy Queen, the litanies, the Anima Christi, etc., etc., etc. They’re written down and formalized.

Mental prayer, on the other hand, is our personal conversation with God - we tell Him how much we love Him, how we adore Him, how sorry we are for our sins, what we’re worried about, what we’re happy about, what we’re thankful for, what we think we need, what we want for those we love and on an on. There are, as has been noted by previous posters, many “ways” of mental prayer. You can meditate on a passage of scripture, picturing yourself in the scene. You can take a vocal prayer and slowly meditate on each sentence. You can take a book of points for meditation and read until something strikes you, then take off with that. You can just chat. But make sure to spend some time also listening. A one-sided conversation with God is no better than one with anyone else. At the end of the prayer, try to form some kind of resolution about how you will carry out what you gleaned from the prayer time.

I like this little prayer to end a time of mental prayer: “I thank you, my God, for the good resolutions, affections, and inspirations You have communicated to me in this time of prayer. I beg Your help to put them into effect. My Immaculate Mother, St. Joseph, my father and lord, my guardian angel, intercede for me.” While we’re at it, here’s the matching prayer for the beginning: “My Lord and my God, I firmly believe that You are here, that You see me, that You hear me. I adore You with profound reverence. I ask pardon for my sins, and grace to make this time of prayer fruitful. My Immaculate Mother, St. Joseph, my father and lord, my guardian angel, intercede for me.”

Hope this helps,
Betsy

Vocal prayers are all the prayers we all say - the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Glory Be, the Creed, the Hail Holy Queen, the litanies, the Anima Christi, etc., etc., etc. They’re written down and formalized.

So I guess you can’t just pray those prayers in your head too, eh?

[quote=Max]So I guess you can’t just pray those prayers in your head too, eh?
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You’re so funny all the time, Max, I can’t tell if you’re joshing now or not! :slight_smile: So just in case you’re not…OF COURSE you can say them in your head, too. But they’re still “vocal prayers,” even if you say them in your head. Mental prayer is the kind you make up as you go along.

Betsy

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