Monday, September 26, 2011

Monthly Discernment Discussion. Topic: Prayer - Thoughts from St. Jose Maria Escriva

You write, "To pray is to talk with God. But about what?" About what? About Him, about yourself—joys, sorrows, successes and failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions—and Love and reparation. In a word, to get to know him and to get to know yourself—"to get acquainted!" The Way, 91

You don't know how to pray? Put yourself in the presence of God, and as soon as you have said, "Lord, I don't know how to pray!" you can be sure you've already begun. The Way, 90

Look at the set of senseless reasons the enemy gives you for abandoning your prayer. "I have no time"—when you are constantly wasting it. "This is not for me." "My heart is dry..." Prayer is not a question of what you say or feel, but of love. And you love when you try hard to say something to the Lord, even though you might not actually say anything. Furrow, 464

Persevere in prayer. Persevere, even when your efforts seem barren. Prayer is always fruitful. The Way, 101

You don't know what to say to our Lord in your prayer. You can't think of anything, and yet you would like to consult him on many things. Look: make some notes during the day of whatever you want to consider in the presence of God. And then take these notes with you to pray. The Way, 97

Please join our discussion by leaving comments or asking questions. What are your struggles in prayers? How can they be overcome? What helps you to pray and to persevere in prayer? In vocation discernment, how can a young woman give ample time to prayer amidst her many committments? What is the essence of prayer?


  1. Sister Mary CatherineSeptember 26, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    Prayer is indispensible for our spiritual lives. Our souls need it just as much as our bodies need air. And yet we often pray very little during the day or leave pray off to the end of the day or go entire days without praying. Prayer is talking to Jesus. We need to talk to Jesus every day and many times a day. In order to get to know someone and to form a relationship with them we need to spend time with them. We need to ask them what their favourite colour is and what books they like to read and what are their joys and sorrows. In the same way we need to set apart some time in our day to talk with Our Lord. He is waiting for us and has so much He wants to give to us. Next time you are speaking with Our Lord, ask Him what His favourite colour is.

  2. There is such wisdom in these little gems of St. Josemaria Escriva - he describes what prayer is (relationship) and then how the enemy tries to dissuade us and ways to overcome other difficulties and obstacles. When I go to pray, I strive to shut out the world around and attend only to God, who awaits me in private audience with such great merciful kindness. It is amazing that His love beckons us to intimacy with Him, the All-Powerful God.

  3. It only takes picking up a newspaper to see that our world needs God. Don't we often think, "Look at all the terrible things that happen. But what can one person possibly do to make a difference?" Sometimes we think we need to do big things to change the world, but the saints have a different answer: We can make a difference - we can pray! I like to think about how we are an extension of the Incarnation. But in order for Jesus to touch the world through us, we first need Him to touch the depths of our hearts. We let Jesus enter us in prayer - especially when we receieve Him in the Eucharist. And to the extent we pray, we become His vessels of evangelization, replacing our "Culture of Death" with a "Civilization of Love."

  4. I am Catholic male lay person who has great admiration and respect for traditional women religious orders, like your own, as consider these orders absolutely integral to the church's mission and new envagilizatgion and I can only answer from my perspective. I try to pray often during the day informally and leave my formal prayers for the morning and evening. One new thing I am experiencing is a renewed love for God's word in scripture which has been brought about by my reading of our great Holy Father's Benedict's book "Jesus of Nazareth" and his constant message of developing a personal relationship with our Lord through daily reading of Holy Scripture. I have also been praying a lot for my wife children to develop this closeness. God bless and keep you sisters.
    your brother Luciano

  5. Thank you for posting these quotes. They are beautiful--as is everything the people ahead of me have said.

    I pray formal prayers at daily Mass and I pray the Rosary with my family every evening, but I must confess that "talk" prayer like this is hard for me. For years I have cultivated my mind to think of my work (writing--although I am now trying to put it aside in order to consider a vocational call) and so when I am alone, in a silent place, I tend to think about various characters, plots, and so forth. It is kind of automatic.

    I really want to know Our Lord more. But I do feel a bit silly just "mentally talking"! Is that normal? Can you suggest some ways to overcome this shyness? Also, do you suggest time periods for beginners (say, 15 minutes)?

    Thank you so much! God bless you!


  6. Dear Andrea,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It is very beautiful that you desire to draw closer to Our Lord. I know that He also wants to draw closer to you. Sometimes vocal prayer, or “talk” prayer can be difficult at times. But it is still important in our lives and we need to keep persevering and doing our best, even when we do not feel like it.

    We can feel a bit silly in mental prayer or “mental talking” since we are used to talking to someone we can see and who answers us back. But we need to remember that Our Lord is really with us when we speak with Him, even though we cannot see Him or hear him. One thing that may help is doing your mental prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. In this way you can gaze upon Him as He is truly present before you in the Holy Eucharist. Think of His great love for you and how eager He is talk with you and to share your joys and sorrows. This may help you feel a little more comfortable.

    As for a time recommendation, I would say maybe you could try talking to Our Lord, or engaging in mental prayer, for 5 minutes a day. It is always good to start off small and be faithful to it and then gradually increase over time.

    Ask Our Lady to help you; she of all people knows best how to commune with Our Lord.

    God bless you!

  7. Thank you, Sister!

    Your advice is both beautiful and helpful.

    God bless you!