Prayer is Practical

Prayer is easy: it’s simply being present to God. Or talking to God. Or listening for God.
 
The heart of daily prayer is focused time – even a few minutes – when we are not doing something else. Prayer while driving or doing laundry is certainly important, but quality time that is just for God is essential… even if we get distracted. Falling-off-to-sleep prayer in bed at night is great: it invites the Holy Spirit into the unconscious as we drift into slumber. This kind of prayer, however, should never be our only or principal form of
communicating with God. No prayer is bad, but many forms of prayer are only parts of the picture or stepping-stones to so much more.
 
We will be offering the next of our popular weekend homily series, beginning July 23-24. In the Gospel for that day, the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray. True prayer always leads to relationship with God. True relationship always leads to action. We call this action Discipleship. From that weekend through August 21, we will hear about Discipleship in the homily at each English weekend Mass.
 
The launching pad for discipleship is always prayer. To learn more about prayer, there are some great resources. 
 
Jesuit Father Thomas Greene is a great teacher of prayer. Perhaps his most helpful book is for beginners, Opening to God.  For long-time prayers struggling with the different movements of emotion while praying, he has distilled the practical advice of two great teachers of spirituality, Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, in When the Well Runs Dry and the sequel, Drinking from a Dry Well. He has several other reader-friendly books as well.
 
Father Timothy Gallagher has written a number of books, two of the best of which are An Ignatian Introduction to Prayer and Meditation and Contemplation. *
 
Our wonderful online platform www.Formed.org offers “Finding Intimacy with God” by Tim Gray, a six part series. Watching even the first episode will bless you. Remember, it’s free! **
 
Prayer is practical, not pie in the sky. If you have been telling yourself, “I should pray more,” and have done nothing about it….now is the time!
 
*Remember, if you purchase books on Amazon, use AmazonSmile and a portion of eligible purchases will go to POP. Just visit  https://smile.amazon.com/ch/74-1698053 and log in with your regular Amazon account. Many or all of these books may also be available electronically on Kindle, Nook or iBooks.

**Parishioners can access “Finding Intimacy with God” for free by visiting www.Formed.org, entering our parish code, 66f823, and setting up an account. The series is located under “Programs.” Scroll down to “Bible Studies,” and then click “Prayer.”