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.