We are constantly being encouraged to pray. It is very interesting to consider how people pray. There are as many ways to pray as there are people who pray. Many pray through thoughts, words, actions or before a crucifix. Some pray silently. Many like to gently sit or kneel before the blessed sacrament, spending quiet time in the presence of the Lord. They will tell you that in the Church they feel the calming peace of Christ reviving their spirits.
We visit the Church regularly to light candles. The warmth heals us and the flame carries our prayer to the Lord. The glow of the candle symbolises our love for God, and our warm feelings about the people we pray for.
Many people find music very prayerful. Music opens us up to the mystery of God. Equally poetry, art, drama and the world of nature often takes us to new and better places. The sight of new-born lambs in the field in spring, daffodils, light shining through stained-glass windows and the rising or setting of the sun are lifegiving and calming. A kind word, a generous act, the laughter of children, the contentment of old age are all sacred moments.
Many of us get in touch with God by reciting the words of familiar prayers that we learned as children. There are times when we simply speak to God as we do to a friend. At other moments, the words of scripture bring us closer to the Lord as we place ourselves in the story of His love for His people.
We can pray alone, with loved ones or with our parish community at the weekend Masses; virtually at present! We pray to give thanks, to unload our burdens, to ask help, to seek comfort, or to find a way forward. All prayer nourishes our friendship with God. Beginning each day with a prayer and spending a little time before sleep remembering the moments, when God held us by hand during the day, calms our spirits. We need each day to experience the love of God and when we pray, we are aware of the presence of God’s loving Spirit and we are grateful.