What is prayer? (& How to do it)

October 1, 2019

Today I discuss what prayer is, three obstacles I experience when praying, how to develop a prayer rule of life, and 3 reasons Aquinas says we should pray out loud.

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It is not essential to such a prayer as this that it be vocal. And yet the voice is employed in such like prayers for three reasons. First, in order to excite interior devotion, whereby the mind of the person praying is raised to God, because by means of external signs, whether of words or of deeds, the human mind is moved as regards apprehension, and consequently also as regards the affections. Hence Augustine says (ad Probam. Ep. cxxx, 9) that “by means of words and other signs we arouse ourselves more effectively to an increase of holy desires.” Hence then alone should we use words and such like signs when they help to excite the mind internally. But if they distract or in any way impede the mind we should abstain from them; and this happens chiefly to those whose mind is sufficiently prepared for devotion without having recourse to those signs. Wherefore the Psalmist (Psalm 26:8) said: “My heart hath said to Thee: ‘My face hath sought Thee,'” and we read of Anna (1 Samuel 1:13) that “she spoke in her heart.” Secondly, the voice is used in praying as though to pay a debt, so that man may serve God with all that he has from God, that is to say, not only with his mind, but also with his body: and this applies to prayer considered especially as satisfactory. Hence it is written (Hosea 14:3): “Take away all iniquity, and receive the good: and we will render the calves of our lips.” Thirdly, we have recourse to vocal prayer, through a certain overflow from the soul into the body, through excess of feeling, according to Psalm 15:9, “My heart hath been glad, and my tongue hath rejoiced.” – Read the rest here.

Suggestions for a daily prayer routine

Stage 1: Morning offering before your feet hit the floor + Rosary or Jesus Prayer during the day + Examination of conscience at night.

Stage 2: Morning offering before your feet hit the floor + 10 min scripture reading in the morning + Rosary or Jesus Prayer during the day + Examination of conscience at night.

Stage 3: Morning offering before your feet hit the floor + 10 min Scripture reading in the morning + Rosary or Jesus Prayer during the day + 3 Our Fathers, 3 Hail Mary’s, 3 Glory Be’s in front of the Blessed Sacrament + Examination of conscience at night.
Matt

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