Monthly Archives: March 2011

Some Questions About Prayer: Part 7

The Question

7) Are your prayers more conversational, spontaneous, Scripture based, or the ritual Mass prayers?

My Answer

7. My prayers run the gamut. I spend the most time in spontaneous conversational prayer sprinkled with short formal prayers (my particular go-to prayer nowadays is “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy”) simply because that is what I do when I am doing other things, such as walking to class, waiting in line, or stuck in any other dead time. I suppose if you thought of all the prayer I do as a spice cake full of delicious nuggets like apple pieces, chocolate chips, caramel chunks, dried cranberries, pecan halves, and the all-important streusel topping, then spontaneous conversational prayer would be like the actual cake part binding the rest of the yummies together. I have to lump the two together (conversational and spontaneous) here because I do in real life. The distinction I see between them is that conversational prayer is still spontaneous, but more casual – like making up a conversation with God, rather than making up a more formalized prayer of praise, thanksgiving, contrition, or petition. In real life, I’ll just be talking along to God and then something good happens, or I remember something good that did happen, or I will have a good insight, and then I will shift into more formal language without actually praying a “formal” (traditional) prayer. The other forms of prayer which I have introduced above are like the special treasures in the spice cake. They’re still delicious even on their own, but they really need to be set in the context of the cake to make everything come together in heady delight, just like the cake would be rather boring without the rest of the mix-ins. However, the Mass is the streusel topping because it, too is all-important. Without it, we might as well not have cake at all. Also, streusel topping involves vital things like flour and sugar and butter, without which we could not have a cake. Well, there are flourless and sugarless and butterless cakes out there, but compared to the real thing they are hardly worth mentioning. Likewise, prayer lives without the Mass are possible… but they’re missing so much that compared to a similar prayer life with the Mass, they’re hardly worth mentioning.

Now I desire cake. Lent, why are you so long??

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