Five tips for prayer . . . Theo Raykoske
1 – SILENCE Life is getting increasingly noisy. To pray at all we need to cultivate some real silence in our lives. Silence is the life-blood, as it were, of all real prayer. It is normal to find silence unsettling at first. So, start with just 5-10 minutes each day.
Pick a time in advance. Find a space where you can be alone. Turn off all gadgets. Offer the experience to God. Sit as still as you can and pray as best you can for those minutes. Your initial discomfort will pass if you gently persevere. Eventually, you will even look forward to this silence. God will be there with you – as He promised.
2 – TIME Time is, perhaps, the only ‘thing’ you really ‘have’. You can choose to give some to God. You can be sure that if you make that choice you will get His attention. How much time can you give Him? Depending on your commitments, start with 5-10 minutes each day. Try to be faithful to that. Tell Him that those minutes are for Him to use then pray as best you can. At the end of the time, thank Him for being with you whatever you experienced. He has to let you know if He wants more time from you.
3 – SLOW DOWN! Prayer is really about quality not quantity. So,
when praying with words – e.g. the rosary – try saying the words SLOWLY.
Try taking 5 minutes to say one decade. Try to imagine saying those words to Our Lady as if she were sitting in front of you. Or when talking to God about something, try to pause for a few moments of silence in between sentences. Read your prayers SLOWLY. Savour the words. Slow down so you can listen as well as talk.
4 – ASK! ASK! ASK! At its heart, prayer is a gift from God. Ask Him to teach you how to pray. Ask for the desire for prayer. Ask Him for the grace you want and need. Ask Him to show Himself to you. Ask Him for faith. Ask Him for perseverance in prayer. Ask Him to teach you how to live. Ask Him for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him for holiness before peace. Ask Him for an open mind. Ask Him to help you to love the world. Ask Him to give you an open heart, just like His.
5 – HONESTY We all have human feelings – joy, anger, jealousy, fear, sexual desire, shame, happiness and so on. Sometimes, we fear God. Sometimes, doubt rules. Sometimes feelings run deep and powerful. We all make mistakes. We all suffer. We all ‘fall from grace’. We all get hurt. All of these experiences can be brought into our praying. God sees them anyway. They are parts of who we are. He loves us as we are NOW. One of the tasks of prayer is to face ourselves, safe in His Love. So, in the presence of God, in prayer be yourself. Always ask for the humbling grace of absolute honesty in prayer.