Saying Prayers that Exagerate: is it dishonest?


There are so many beautiful prayers that I think we all say… and sometimes the words of the author refer to feelings that are perhaps a bit stronger than the person reciting the prayer may actually feel at the moment. I find myself wondering if I should change the words of the prayer when I say them… usually I try to make myself feel what the prayer is saying, but not always satisfactorily. What should I do?

Here are some examples:

“My heart leaps up with joy to the Lord, for he humbles only to exalt us.” (Tuesday Week II morning prayer antiphon)

“My God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, I detest all my sins,…” (official act of contrition for use at my parish)

“As morning breaks, I look to you, O God” (maybe sometimes… but not in general, normally when morning breaks I’m thinking more about how much time I have before the snooze runs out again)


I think God knows what you mean and that we all have a habit of exaggerating. :smiley:
God thinks of us like children and children have a habit of exaggerating—i’ve got a finger-cut, i am going to die!"


why not mean the words? :slight_smile: (I mean simply by choice… .not necessarily feelings.)


Perhaps your prayer is that you’d LIKE to be able to say these words and mean them.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your heart did leap with joy to the Lord? Wouldn’t it be great if you were heartily sorry for you sins?


I think that in order to mean words, it’s not necessary to FEEL anything. It’s more of a choice :slight_smile: that’s what I tried to say above… :wink: God bless.


Say, I like this subforum… :slight_smile: . Anyway, do we always mean it when we are polite and say “have a nice day” to other people, or are we REALLY pleased when we say “pleased to meet you” to others? Or are we saying it because we aspire to the sentiment? I think of saying those types of prayers as an opportunity to aspire to the sentiment, if that makes sense.


The mind-body relationship is a funny thing - I know I’ve found that if I force a smile I do start to feel happier, and if I fake a laugh, soon enough the laugh becomes a genuine one.

In the same way, when I talk about my heart leaping up with joy, or detesting my sins above all else, it does get me feeling pretty much that way.


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