“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” 1 Cor 13:11
I can’t say that I’ve put away all my childish ways; after all, I do have a bubble blower on my desk at all times. Sometimes you need a few bubbles to lighten the mood, you know? I definitely can’t say that I’ve become a man, which my husband is happy about. But when I was a child, I prayed like a child. At least, I prayed the way I thought I was supposed to pray.
I memorized prayers that I was taught and rattled them off with the best of them. I tried to concentrate on the words with a child’s understanding, but I was limited in knowledge and understanding. Don’t get me wrong. I prayed as well as any other child my age could, maybe even better. But I’m not a child anymore, and childish ways leave me wanting more.
Luckily there’s more to be had. A lot more. Recently I’ve come across a couple of different ways to pray that I had never experienced before. But first, let’s recap the “old” ways to pray just to make sure we’re all on the same page.
- Memorized/Composed Prayer-ex: The Our Father, Hail Mary, Act of Contrition, St. Michael the Archangel Prayer, etc.
When you’re feeling less than articulate or can’t put words to your thoughts and feelings, this is the prayer for you. Use the words of Scripture and the saints to guide your thoughts or to articulate what you’re feeling. Our Faith is full of holy men and women who have put a lot of thought into their prayers. Luckily for us, they wrote them down and shared them!
- Spontaneous/Extemporaneous-As St. Therese of Lisieux said, “Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.”
This prayer can be an internal or external expression of your love, gratitude, praise, and petitions to God. Praying what you think and feel in your own words whether they’re fancy or plain is what this prayer is about. When done sincerely, it can be a deep crying out of the spirit to God.
- Meditative/Contemplative-Just being in the presence of God in the Eucharist or contemplating God’s wonder, majesty, love, and mercy is prayer as well. After all, God is pleased when we focus on Him. Considering the fact that we’ll never be able to fully comprehend Him in this life, trying will keep us plenty busy.
These three methods of prayer are beautiful and can be a source of richness in anyone’s spiritual life. However, sometimes you need to vary your routine to keep things fresh, you know?
Refresh your Prayer Life
Here are two methods of prayer that I’ve recently come across that have enriched my pray life.
- Scriptural Art Journaling-You may have heard of Bible Journaling where you meditate on Scripture and write down your thoughts or feelings that come out of your meditation. This version from Lacey at Catholic Icing adds in images to accompany the words. I’ve altered her method a bit for my own style.
- Select a short Scripture passage and read it over several times at varying speeds and emphasizing different words.
- Using a blank, lined, or graph paper journal-carefully write the passage on a page with plenty of room around it or between the words/lines. Leave room at the top or bottom to write a reflection after your done with the drawing portion of the exercise.
- Use colored pencils or markers to embellish the verse. You may add images, color for emphasis, or you may simply underline or circle important words to draw attention to them.
- After spending time with the Word, you may find new meaning to words you’ve read and heard before. Take time to think about what God is calling you to do through His Word and write it down on the part of the page that you set aside for reflection.
- Dual Wielding-I know. It sounds like a fencing move or something that a pirate might do when fighting a foe. As cool as that might be, I hate to disappoint you. Dual Wielding is a method of using the Bible and the Catechism together to delve deeper into God’s Word that I learned from Edmund Mitchell at the Reverb Culture website.
- Pick a scripture passage to read. Read it and meditate on it.
- Look up the Scripture passage in the back of the Catechism in the Scriptural index and read the Catechism paragraphs that relate to the passage you read.
- Journal about it. Write what God reveals to you or what you’d like God to reveal to you. Write down your prayers, your hopes, your dreams. You get the idea. Trust me. You won’t regret it.
So, how do you pray? Do you use any of these methods? Do you have some of your own that aren’t represented here? Tell me about them. I must know! :)
Copyright 2016 Laura B. Nelson
About the Author
Laura B. Nelson is a Catholic wife and mother of three children. She is also a Catholic blogger, author, speaker, teacher and life-long student of the Catholic faith. Laura likes to be busy but she most enjoys spending time with her husband and three children at their home in Grapevine, TX. Visit her blogs at Green for God and Suburban Sainthood.