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Thoughts on Prayer

The devotional book I’m using for my morning meditations is a Jesuit publication.  One of the submissions – that I happened to read this week – was provided by a Belgian Jesuit, Nikolaas Sintobin, SJ.  He shared some thoughts about prayer, which I wanted to share with you here.  Many of us wonder how best to pray; or if there is a “right” way to pray; or feel pressure when they pray.  While Sintobin’s words are not the be-all, end-all when it comes to prayer, I found them helpful and encouraging.  I hope you feel similarly. 

 

 

For the Christian, prayer is about the relationship with God, and in particular with Jesus.  It is our deepest opening to God.  It is to listen to him in his presence.  To pray is to be loved by him and to speak to him in confidence.  In prayer, all masks and facades can be removed.  God can come to us – truly come to us – when we are willing to be known as we are.

 

One time we may be happy, the next we may be sad.  It is possible that we are angry... with God or with another human being.  Whatever our emotions, we can express them to God in prayer. 

 

Prayer is not inborn.  It is something we can learn.  Fortunately, we don’t have to invent it all by ourselves.  Christians have been praying for two thousand years, so a lot of know-how has been developed already.  If you are looking for what can help you pray, it is good to let yourself be inspired by that thought. 

 

It stands to reason, then, that there are as many different ways of praying as there are people. 

Some people like to pray with texts, whether from the bible or not. 

Others like to pray without words. 

Some like to pray alone. 

Others like to pray in groups and prayer circles. 

Some prefer to pray in a quiet place. 

Others don’t mind the hustle and bustle. 

Some like to pray for along time, others much shorter. 

 

A good way of praying is a way that, at the moment, helps you live more connected with God.  And even this might change over time.  What helps you get to God one day may not work as well on another.  That is not strange.  So do not dismay if that happens to you.   

 

For there are as many different ways of praying as there are people.  And a good way of praying is a way that, at the moment, helps you live more connected with God.

Posted by Michael Karunas with

Holiness in Red

Holiness in Red

A gift appeared out my window this morning

A cardinal came to visit

Again

 

Nearly every day I take up this place for morning devotions he is there perched atop the brown entanglement of dormant lilac branches

against the backdrop of equally-drab pillars of oak and maple

leaning in the same direction as though trudging off in search of warmer weather

limbs devoid of their green leaves

which have long since gone into hibernation

 

If I’m lucky, I’ll “catch” him

For if I stare out the window looking for him, he is not there

Only when I resume my activity - and suddenly look up - can I hope to see him

showing off a splash of vibrant crimson

as if to revel in the attention he knows I’m giving him

As long as I stop what I’m doing and admire him he remains in all his regal dignity

 

More than once, I have reached for my phone – slowly, carefully, quietly –

hoping to record his presence for my own future enjoyment

But every time

as if sensing my movement through the glass barrier that separates us

off he flutters

We play this game regularly, he and I, and he is usually the victor

 

Once I did it though! 

I clicked at just the right time to provide proof of his elusive presence

Yet when I opened the photo app, I dejectedly pressed delete

Nothing of the majesty and beauty recorded in my mind and memory was present there

 

So... I will resume my position in this rocker again

And I’ll settle for watching and waiting

for his next appearance

For he is out there

just beyond the edges of my view

of this I am sure

Preparing to take up his familiar perch

Among the barrenness and brokenness that is my view

And bringing to them his uniquely creative burst of crimson

 

Perhaps I will “catch him” again

 

Michael E. Karunas

Monday, January 18

2021

Posted by Michael Karunas with

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