Blog reader Jenn had a question about prayer, and so I thought tackle it on today’s post. Prayer is such a wonderfully dynamic thing. There are so many ways to have a conversation with God, to be still in his presence. One of the central ways that we Catholics pray together is through the celebration of the Eucharist. This celebration itself holds within it a great variety of ways to pray which involve spirit, mind, and body. It is at the center of our lives as Catholics.

Praying the Liturgy of the Hours is also something I love because I am in communion not only with God but with my sisters and with all who pray that way. There is a universal, deeply Catholic aspect to it that I love.

Ignatius River CardonerI also pray in other ways like the Examen of Consciousness. There are times when I am drawn to contemplative prayer, to being with God without words or images mediating. Those times are pure gift because they are not something I can conjure up. I can dispose myself to them through a regular habit of prayer and opening myself up to God. I also pray through nature. I have always loved the outdoors, animals, the sky, the land — all of it. I find it speaks constantly of the glory of God and the goodness of all of creation. When I’m in wilderness (even the bits of wilderness in a big city), I’m at home with my God and myself.

I pray through the day as well. I’ve got my formal times of prayer, but that doesn’t preclude praying through the day. Praying doesn’t always mean I’m addressing God about something particular, sometimes it’s like just being together as you would with a good friend. You just enjoy each other’s company. By cultivating a general openness to God, one finds that one slips in and out of prayer throughout the day. This reminds me of Saint Paul who wrote “pray without ceasing”.