The older, more wrinkled, one is a meditation for someone who has received the Eucharist earlier in the day. The new one is a prayer request from someone I met on Twitter.
Both are there to remind members of this family to pray: meditating on what's happened that day at Mass; and asking for help with someone's health issue.
The window over our kitchen sink isn't particularly "spiritual." It's one place in the house where we all stop at least once a day: which makes it a good place to post reminders. In these cases, to pray.
What is Prayer?One thing prayer is not is 'making God do things for me.' I heard somewhere that prayer is more about conforming our hearts to God, than bending His will to ours.
Here's a somewhat more detailed (and official) definition of Catholic prayer:
" 'Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.'2 But when we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or 'out of the depths' of a humble and contrite heart?3 He who humbles himself will be exalted;4 humility is the foundation of prayer. Only when we humbly acknowledge that 'we do not know how to pray as we ought,'5 are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. 'Man is a beggar before God.'6"There's quite a bit more on the subject, of course. (Catechism 2558-2565, for starters)
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2559)
Prayers by the BushelAs a practicing Catholic, I've got quite a selection of kinds of prayers to choose from:
- Novenas, sets of prayers to be said over a nine-day period
- Short, informal, prayers of the "please help me find those keys" sort
- Long-established memorized prayers like the St. Michael's prayer
- I'll get back to that one
- The set of prayers we call "the Rosary"
- The Lord's Prayer
- Which is part of the Rosary
After a few hours, that'd be hard on the throat. And leave no time for anything else.
Some religious orders do a very great deal of praying. You might say "it's what they do."
Apart from the meal-time prayers, I don't have prayers that I say at fixed intervals during the day. It's not that I think it's a bad idea: it's just that I haven't seen any clear instruction that I should.
On the other hand, for years now I've prayed the St. Michael's prayer whenever I hear a siren: plus a few words, asking help for whoever's responding to an emergency. Those words have to be pretty generic, sometimes, since I can't tell what sort of emergency vehicle the siren's mounted on: but I figure the heavenly analog of dispatchers can sort it out.
Later tonight, when I do the dishes that need hand-washing, I'll put in a word about that prayer request I read on Twitter. It's no big deal: just part of being a Catholic.
- "A Chaplet for America"
(June 15, 2010)
- "Prayer, Medicine and Trusting God"
(March 4, 2010)
- "A Lenten Chaplet, Routines, and Catching Up"
(February 24, 2010)
- "Haiti Earthquake: Send Help if You Can, and Pray for the Folks Living There"
(January 12, 2010)
- "Praying for America's Leaders"
(July 2, 2009)
- "A Prayer for the Dead"
(June 25, 2009)