In the Gospel, as a lesson on how we are to pray, Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer. Rather than asking us to copy his prayer word for word, he was giving us his Our Father as an example of the simplicity that should characterize our praying.
A good definition of prayer, and I don’t know where it came from is this: Prayer is lifting our minds and harts to God. That definition calls for real personal input of both mind and your heart.
The training about praying I received growing up was restricted to my saying Our Fathers and Hail Mary’s. The way we stuck with those old favorites comes out in the song “Danny Boy.” The girl says that if she is dead when Danny returns from the war she knows he would find her grave, and kneel and say an “Ave” there for her.
The Pentecostal movement brought in free wheeling prayer, not so much for us as individuals, but for our coming together to make emotion-laden appeals to Jesus.
This Tuesday afternoon two ladies came knocking at my door with the suggestion that they come in and call on Jesus with me. When I demurred, they asked where I would go after I died. Luckily, the phone rang with a request that I meet a friend at Panera’s, so I said I had to go there first.
I say a few rosaries on long walks every morning and evening. I don’t feel wrong in saying Hail Mary’s over and over. I liken it to the way when I was four or five and my mother took me shopping in big department stores, I’d mindlessly hold tight to my mother’s hand while I gaped all around. Now, repeating the Hail Mary’s while I think of the Mysteries is like gripping Mother Mary’s hand.
That’s two things I do: I say the Hail Mary’s and I think on the mysteries. Without complicating it at all, there is a third thing I do. I walk promoting a sensation that I am doing all this in direct contact with God.