I AM sure that a good number of people have expressed the view that they find their prayer life quite boring and dry. They say that often they run out of things to consider in their prayer and that they feel no compelling drive to sit down for a period of time, trying to meditate and carry a so called meaningful conversation with God. In fact, many would say that they wilt only after a minute or two.
Some have said that prayer must only be the domain of some people whose character and temperament can lend easily to such exercise. Or that it can only involve some special people who have been given some extraordinary gift from above. In other words, prayer cannot be for everyone.
We need to clarify a few things here. Prayer is for everyone and it can be carried out — in fact, it should be done — at all times and not just from time to time. And the basis for this assertion is simply this: we as creatures of God, made in his image and likeness and meant to share in his life, need to pray since prayer is our most fundamental way of living out our dignity as God’s creatures who are created as just described.
In fact, we need to pray much more than we need to breathe and eat. And it can be done in many ways and in different levels. One big problem that clouds the nature and character of prayer is that through the years prayer has been associated with special or extraordinary circumstances and efforts when, in fact, it can be done as naturally as breathing and eating.
The fact that we are always attracted to some good is already some form of prayer, albeit at the very elemental level. We certainly should try to go above that level in our prayer. Sticking to that level is like sticking to the Neanderthal stage of humanity, marked by a lot of inadequacies and prone to a lot of errors.
We need to put more consciousness, more substance and better quality in our prayer. But it does not mean that we have to wait for some extraordinary inspiration before we can say that we are already praying.
We just have to realize that every event and circumstance of our life, whether humanly good or bad, a success or a failure, can be and should be a material and a motive for prayer. We have to remember that God is always not only present in our life but is also actively intervening in it. We are not fantasizing when we try to relate things to him at any moment.
Perhaps this is the point that we need to highlight these days. As long as we relate to God all that we have and that happen in our life, we are already praying!
This can be done in an abiding way in whatever mode or situation we may find ourselves during the day. Of course, it would be helpful if we spend a period of time doing nothing other than conversing directly with God and relating all things to him, since that would sharpen our consciousness that we can be praying even while we are working or playing or shopping or partying, etc.
When times are good, we can praise and thank God. When bad, we can always ask for help from him. When we commit mistakes, we can also run to him to ask for forgiveness and for more grace. He will always do that. When we feel bored or dry, then let’s go to him just the same, telling him how we feel. Anything can and should be a material and motive for prayer.
Fr. Roy Cimagala is the Chaplain of the Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise, Talamban, Cebu City (firstname.lastname@example.org)/PN