What should I think about when I'm praying?


I'm trying to develop more of a prayer life, but I don't know what I should think about. God, obviously, but I don't know what else. Would he mind if I told him some problems I'm going through? Like with family or friends? Or personal related issues?

Are there any specific things that are a no-no when praying?


Would he mind if I told him some problems I’m going through? Like with family or friends? Or personal related issues?

that would be just fine. :thumbsup: God wants to hear about that… He wants us to be completely honest, humble, and conversational with Him in private prayer, and to tell Him everything.

Christ confessed to His Father that He was troubled and overwhelmed at the thought of His impending crucifixion, yet still prayed “not My will, but Yours be done”.

when i tell my Father my troubles and sincerely ask His help, and His will to be done, i don’t worry any more. i know i serve a God who is mighy, awesome, holy, and who loves His children in Christ dearly and personally. just keep your thoughts on the Father, His grace through His Son, and tell Him what is on your heart, using the Lord’s Prayer as a model.


There are many forms of prayer , You may find this helpful and yes by all means tell the Lord your troubles.

For the way that persons in love deepen their bond of charity with each other is through the sharing of their interior lives in an authentic and generous exchange of words, gestures, and feelings. The conversation of prayer deepens our intimacy with God by drawing us into the communication with him that leads to ultimate communion. In the process, prayer conforms us to the Lord we love so that, as Saint Teresa of Avila says, “the will becomes united in some way with the will of God.”
Prayer takes five basic forms:
• Adoration
• Petition
• Intercession
• Thanksgiving
• Praise


If you're anything like me and have a hard time praying without something in front of you (I've never been much of an eye closer, personally) then get a picture. There are times where I'll pull up a painting of Jesus and look at it while I pray and imagine I am talking to him face to face.

The thing about prayer is that it's just talking to God. There's no magical formula to it. There are recited prayers that give you words when you cannot think of any for yourself, but scripture commands us to pray without ceasing. This means anything from always focusing on God in all you do, or just talking to him throughout the day. Little things like thanking him for a gorgeous sunrise, or "Argh! I'm so frustrated about getting cut off in traffic!" God is prepared to hear it all, and loves it when we come to him.


Mystical theology has no hard and fast rules about what you must be thinking when praying. The great masters of prayer all agree on one thing. Prayer is to place yourself in God's presence. St. John Baptist de La Salle, the founder of the Christian Brothers always began leading the brothers in prayer with a simple phrase, "Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God."

I always suggest that people begin with this little phrase. It's very helpful. It helps put them in the space where God is to be found, not that he's not always aournd us, because he is. But usually, we're paying much attention. God understand that our minds are often filled with many other things, including our jobs, families, health and so forth.


Are centainly the forms that prayer take. In the early stages of prayer, one can pretty much control which way prayer goes. I mean that you can decide whether you want ot ask for something, pray for someone, thank God for something, praise him and adore him. As you progress in prayer, you find that you have less control. This too is part of prayer. One begins to go with the movements of the Holy Spirit who prays from within us, as St. Paul says.

There is nothing that is really a "no no" in prayer as far as thoughts are concerned. Every thought that crosses our mind can be turned into a prayer. Let's put it this way, every thought that cross our minds can become a topic of conversation between us and God, even sinful thoughts. Sometimes, these cross our mind too and we need healing from them.

I always recommend that people not pray over sexual thoughts, but rather that they take a walk, read a book, turn on the TV, find some distraction. The reason is this. God is not scandalized by our sexual thoughts. Heck, he created our imagination and our sexuality. But we can get so involved in these thoughts that instead of talking to God about our sexual issues or problems, we begin to run home movies in our heads. This can lead into serious trouble. It is best to ask God for help with chastity when one is not feling tempted by impure thoughts.

For some people, the same may be true about anger. If you're so angry at neighbor Sam that you want to punch him in the nose. It may not be a good time to pray over this. It may be better to make a short prayer such as, "God give me patience," and go for a walk to cool off. When you have cooled off, you can talk to God about neighbor Sam and even ask him to let neighbor Sam slip on a banana peel. Not that God will do it, but it's good to unburden with God. It's humbling to admit to God that you would love nothing more than to have neighbor Sam slip on that banana peel. Just make sure that you're not the one who leaves it outside his door.

In general, I would say that when praying about the passions, it is best to do say when the mind is at rest. When the adrenalin is running high, may not be good to pray about the passions. This may be a good time to take a quiet walk with God. Just ask God for peace and go for a walk with him.

It is very important in prayer not to try to feel God's presence. Sometimes, people try to do strange things to make themselves feel God. God is not an "it" that we can manipulate. He is a free living being. He will make his presence felt at his discretion and on his own terms. When we try to make ourselves feel God, what we're really doing is replacing him with some imaginary or emotional substitute that feels good and we call God.

The mystics never made themselves feel God. Most of the time they felt nothign and no one around them. When they did feel God's presence, they called it a consolation, meaning a gift from God. Hence the term, consolation prize. It is something that God gives us so that we don't give up, but not necessary for a life of prayer. Feeling God in prayer is no more necessary than knowing what's in the mind of your spouse when you're making love. You trust the lover and you surrender to the lover. When in the presence of God in prayer, you trust him and you surrender to him. Whatever comes to mind, you share with the beloved, just as you would in human love that is open and trusting.. In God's case, you may as well talk about. Unlike your spouse, God already knows.

I hope these thoughts are helpful to someone.


Br. JR, OSF :)

PS I should add that the highest form of prayer is liturgical prayer. Praying with the Church is the most noble and perfect prayer. If you're not already doing so, I would strongly suggest the Liturgy of the Hours. We must remember that the Liturgy of the Hours are not for personal prayer. They are the prayer of the Church, through the Church and with the Church. We don't offer up the Liturgy of the Hours for the conversion of my son, let's say. Though there is a place in the LOTH for that. There are petitions that may be added to it at that specific point. But praying the psalms is adoring God with his own words.


God is our heavenly Father, of course, He wants to know all about your friends, family, personal issues and everything else. When I feel “dry” in my prayer life, I ask God what He wants me to pray about or who he wants me to pray for. God is good and He will provide you with many things and people to pray for. We are living in a hurting world and there are many people who don’t have anyone to pray for them. As far as meditations, focus on the Passion of our Lord. A crucifix has a wealth of meditations and prayers. Stay close to our Blessed Mother too.

Peace be with you.


Are are various approaches and spiritualities…and good books etc…

Take care though that they are within the teachings of the Church…

and of course …pray the Our Father :thumbsup:


you can definitely talk to God about anything that’s on your mind. He’s the one who will always understand no matter what it is. :slight_smile:

in fact it’s a really good idea to talk to God about your life, especially if you also try to grow in trust in Him. This really helps us to be closer to Christ.

God bless


You would probably find the psalms fascinating. Love, hate, anger, joy - the entire range of human emotion expressed to a God that the writer is also deeply in love with… If you don’t know how to express yourself - there is no better place to go.


[quote="Lifeisawesome, post:9, topic:182624"]
You would probably find the psalms fascinating. Love, hate, anger, joy - the entire range of human emotion expressed to a God that the writer is also deeply in love with... If you don't know how to express yourself - there is no better place to go.


BINGO! :thumbsup:

The psalms are the highest form of prayer and they are part of the liturgy of the Church. No one can pray better than when they pray the psalms. This is a long held teaching of the Catholic Church. That's why we brought the Liturgy of the Hours from Judaism into Christianity. It is a form of prayer that cannot be improved on. As you say, they emcopass the entire range of human emotions, conditions and circumstancese


Br. JR, OSF :)


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.