As followers of Christ, we are to pray without becoming weary. That does not seem too hard to do. As children or new Catholic Christians, we can read many structured prayers. At Mass, we join in and speak or sing prayers together. Yet, to grow in faith, we should probably do more. To know and love God more, we must communicate with Him daily. Prayers are this communication.
I have no childhood memories of prayer in my home. We attended church, loved each other, and spent much time together with extended family sharing meals and holidays. As a young adult, I joined the Catholic Church and was happy now that prayer was part of my being Catholic. Yet, I had to learn it. I had no family tradition to cling to. Or did I? Our Catholic Church tradition is full of prayers and pray-ers (people who pray).
Those who pray without ceasing are sitting beside you at Mass. You may be one. Nearly 15 years ago, I had a conversion experience with scripture, sacrifice, and prayer. Soon after, I attended a CEW retreat, then Phil and I were involved with the Walk With Christ retreats here at St. Mary, and he was called to the diaconate. Our prayer life grew.
Prayer is now my daily communication with God. My “thank you” and my “please.” My “forgive me” and my “Your Will be done.” I use structured prayers and/or conversational prayer. I say the rosary (after learning how from Mary Kobliska) and I use prayer books. I listen to Christian music. I participate in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. And I end every day by writing in my prayer journal—following the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius. I pray often each day. I am a pray-er.
I also lead our parish email prayer chain. This is “not seen,” yet it is a very real and active ministry. When a parishioner (or friend or relative) requests prayers from others, I share that by emailing over 60 people who pray without ceasing. We don’t see each other; we don’t gossip; we may not even speak to those we are praying for. Yet each of us, in our own way and in our own place, pray for the intentions of those who are in need.
This is a powerful, silent, yet grace-filled ministry. We grow in faith as we communicate with God. Those we pray for receive His grace. May you feel the mercy and warm embrace of our Lord, Jesus Christ. May you listen for His voice, and pray a word of thanks. May you know Him and love Him more deeply through prayer.
Peace be with you, Julie Paladino