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What is Prayer?




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  1. 1. Prayer Seeking Union With God
  2. 3. What is prayer? <ul><li>For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy. </li></ul><ul><li>St. Therese of Lisieux </li></ul><ul><li>Man achieves the fullness of prayer not when he expresses himself, but when he lets God be most fully present in prayer. </li></ul><ul><li>John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope </li></ul>
  3. 4. What is prayer? <ul><li>Prayer is a search for God, but it is also a revelation of God. Through prayer God reveals Himself as Creator and Father, Redeemer and Saviour, as the Spirit who “scrutinizes everything even the depths of God” (1Cor 2:10) and above all “the secrets of human hearts” (cf. Ps 43:22) </li></ul>
  4. 5. What is prayer? <ul><li>Through prayer God reveals Himself above all as Mercy – that is, Love that goes out to those suffering, Love that sustains, uplifts, and invites us to trust. </li></ul><ul><li>Ibid . </li></ul>
  5. 6. The examples of prayer <ul><li>From the Old Testament </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Catechism mentions Abraham, Moses, David and Elijah (CCC 2570-2584) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From the life of Elijah (1 Kings 19:11-12) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Also from the Old Testament – the Psalms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“The Psalter is the book in which the Word of God becomes man’s prayer. . . In [Christ], the psalms continue to teach us to pray.” (CCC 2587) </li></ul></ul>
  6. 7. Forms of Christian prayer <ul><li>Blessing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The prayer of blessing is man’s response to God’s gifts: we bless the Almighty who first blesses us and fills us with his gifts. (CCCC 551) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Adoration </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An attitude that acknowledges we are creatures in the presence of our Creator. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is an act by which we glorify the God who made us. (USCCCA, p. 467) </li></ul></ul>
  7. 8. Forms of Christian prayer <ul><li>Petition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“To ask, to implore, to plead to cry out. In each case, it acknowledges how much we depend on God for our needs, including forgiveness and persistence in seeking him.” (cf. Mt. 7:7; USCCA, p. 467) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The first thing to ask for, however, is the coming of the Kingdom. (CCCC 553) </li></ul></ul>
  8. 9. Forms of Christian prayer <ul><li>Intercession </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consists in asking on behalf of another. It conforms us and unites us to the prayer of Jesus who intercedes with the Father for all, especially sinners. Intercession must extend to one’s enemies. (CCCC 554) </li></ul></ul>
  9. 10. Forms of prayer <ul><li>Thanksgiving </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flows from the Church’s greatest prayer, the celebration of the Eucharist. Every moment or event can become a thanksgiving offering. We are called to thank God for all the gifts we have received, including our joys and sorrows, all of which, through love, work towards our benefit. (USCCA, p. 468) </li></ul></ul>
  10. 11. Forms of prayer <ul><li>Praise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The form of prayer which recognizes most immediately that God is God. It is a completely disinterested prayer: it sings God’s praise for his own sake and give him glory simply because he is. (CCCC 556) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A particular gift of the charismatic renewal to the whole church </li></ul></ul>
  11. 12. Expressions of prayer <ul><li>At Mass when the reading of the Gospel begins, we place the sign of the Cross on our foreheads, lips and hearts. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lips, minds and hearts symbolize the three kinds of prayer: vocal, meditative and contemplative. (USCCA, p. 473) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Vocal prayer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>. . . Associates the body with the interior prayer of the heart. Even the most interior prayer, however, cannot dispense with vocal prayer. In any case it must always spring from a personal faith. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 13. Expressions of prayer <ul><li>Meditation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>. . . is a prayerful reflection that begins above all in the Word of God in the Bible. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engages thought, imagination, emotion and desire in order to deepen our faith, convert our heart and fortify our will to follow Christ. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is a first step toward the union of love with our Lord. (CCCC 570) </li></ul></ul>
  13. 14. Expressions of prayer <ul><li>Contemplation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contemplative prayer . . . is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus, an attentiveness to the Word of God, a silent love (CCC 2724). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contemplative prayer is a gift to which we dispose ourselves by resting attentively before Christ. It involves hearing and obeying God’s Word. It is a time of silent listening and love. (USCCA, p. 474) </li></ul></ul>
  14. 15. How should I pray? <ul><li>Prayer is both communal and personal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The liturgy is continued in the heart that prays (CCC 2655) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We pray in union with Mary and the saints </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They not only intercede for us but model prayer for us </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The OUR Father reminds me that I’m never alone when I pray </li></ul></ul>
  15. 16. The Holy Trinity and prayer <ul><li>Christian prayer is always Trinitarian. The sweep of our prayer moves us toward the Father. But access to the Father is through Jesus Christ. Therefore we also address our prayer to Christ. Yet it is the Holy Spirit who helps us to draw near to Jesus (USCCA, p. 478-9) </li></ul>
  16. 17. The Holy Spirit and prayer <ul><li>The Holy Spirit is the interior Master of Christian prayer (CCCC 549 and 561) </li></ul><ul><li>He forms the Church in the life of prayer and allows her to enter ever more deeply into contemplation of and union with the unfathomable mystery of Christ (CCCC 549). </li></ul>
  17. 18. The Battle of Prayer <ul><li>Prayer is a gift of grace but it always presupposes a determined response on our part </li></ul><ul><li>We “battle” against ourselves, our surroundings and especially the Tempter who does all he can to turn us away from prayer </li></ul><ul><li>The battle of prayer is inseparable from progress in the spiritual life </li></ul><ul><li>We pray as we live because we live as we pray (CCCC 572) </li></ul>
  18. 19. Obstacles to prayer <ul><li>Distraction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Takes our attention away from God and can reveal what we are attached to (CCC 2729). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dryness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the moment of sheer faith clinging faithfully to Jesus in his agony and in his tomb. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If it is due to a lack of roots, because the word has fallen on rocky soil, the battle requires conversion (CCC 2731). </li></ul></ul>
  19. 20. Obstacles to prayer <ul><li>Lack of faith </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The most common and yet most hidden temptation in prayer </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Acedia (spiritual laziness) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A form of depression due to lax ascetical practice, decreasing vigilance, carelessness of heart. . . . Painful as discouragement is, it is the reverse of presumption. The humble are not surprised by their distress; it leads them to trust more, to hold fast in constancy. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 21. The teaching of Jesus <ul><li>At times prayed for the whole night </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lk 6:12 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prayed at critical moments of his life, eg. before choosing his apostles and before his Agony </li></ul><ul><li>Pray to your Father in secret (Mt 6:6) </li></ul><ul><li>Pray in the morning (Mk 1:35) </li></ul><ul><li>Taught us the Our Father </li></ul>
  21. 22. Sources of prayer <ul><li>Word of God: which gives us “the surpassing knowledge” of Christ (Phi 3:8) </li></ul><ul><li>The Liturgy: that proclaims, makes present and communicates the mystery of salvation (CCCC 558) </li></ul><ul><li>The Theological Virtues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Faith puts vitality in prayer because it brings us to a personal relationship with Christ. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hope carries our prayer to our final goal of permanent union with God. </li></ul></ul>
  22. 23. Sources of prayer <ul><ul><li>Love , poured into our heart by the Holy Spirit, is the source and destiny of prayer (USCCA p. 469) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Everyday situations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prayer in the events of each day and each moment is one of the secrets of the kingdom revealed to &quot;little children,&quot; . . . . It is right and good to pray so that the coming of the kingdom of justice and peace may influence the march of history, but it is just as important to bring the help of prayer into humble, everyday situations (CCC 2660) </li></ul></ul>
  23. 24. The Our Father as a guide <ul><li>Our Father who art in heaven </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Begin by acknowledging that you are a child of God and loved </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hallowed be thy name </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Praise God! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Your kingdom come </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Church prays for the final coming of the Kingdom of God through Christ’s return in glory. </li></ul></ul>
  24. 25. Our Father as guide <ul><ul><li>The Church prays also that the Kingdom of God increase from now on through people’s sanctification in the Spirit and through their commitment to the service of justice and peace (CCCC 590). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The will of the Father is that “all men . . . be saved” (1 Tim. 2:4). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We pray to God our Father to unite our will to that of his Son </li></ul></ul>
  25. 26. The Our Father as guide <ul><ul><li>It is through prayer that we can discern “what is the will of God” (Rom. 12:2) and have the “steadfastness to do it” (Heb. 10:36). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Give us this day our daily bread </li></ul><ul><ul><li>That there would be food and a dignified human life for all </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We do not live on bread alone – we hunger for the Word of God and the Body of Christ (CCCC 593) </li></ul></ul>
  26. 27. Our Father is guide <ul><ul><li>Seek a word for the day </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Repent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forgive others </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lead us not into temptation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask God not to leave us alone in temptation </li></ul></ul>
  27. 28. Our Father as guide <ul><ul><li>Ask the Holy Spirit to help us know how to discern between a trial that makes us grow in goodness and a temptation that leads us to sin </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Between being tempted and consenting to temptation (CCCC 596) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But deliver us from evil </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We entrust ourselves to God so that the devil may not lead us into sin. . . We ask God to deliver us from all evils – past, present and future – of which Satan is the author or instigator. (USCCA, p. 489) </li></ul></ul>
  28. 30. WELCOME <ul><li>Schedule </li></ul><ul><li>7:00 Food & Fellowship </li></ul><ul><li>7:25 Community Building </li></ul><ul><li>7:35 Praise and Worship </li></ul><ul><li>7:55 Teaching </li></ul><ul><li>8:40 Small Group Sharing </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Group Norms </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Role of Small Group Leader </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>9:10 Large Group Sharing </li></ul><ul><li>9:25 Wrap Up / Final Prayer & Blessing </li></ul>
  29. 31. GROUP NORMS <ul><li>Don’t interrupt </li></ul><ul><li>Wait for everyone’s opinion before speaking </li></ul><ul><li>SEEK 1 ST TO UNDERSTAND & REFLECT BACK to others what you think you heard them say </li></ul><ul><li>Learn to value the opinions of others; learn to value your own opinion </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t give advice when it’s not asked for </li></ul>
  30. 32. ROLE OF SMALL GROUP LEADER <ul><li>Time keeper </li></ul><ul><li>Stay on topic or exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Invite each person to speak, or pass </li></ul><ul><li>Commit each person to Group Norms </li></ul><ul><li>Flag Father Sean or team member for help as needed </li></ul><ul><li>Share in Large Group </li></ul>
  31. 33. WRAP UP <ul><li>EVALUATION - Please make a notes. </li></ul><ul><li>CALENDAR – We are meeting each Wednesday until March 21 st </li></ul><ul><li>ATTENDANCE – gentle reminder, when you are not able to attend please call us. 281-450-5272 </li></ul><ul><li>FOOD - Pam has a sign sheet up front for 12 people to bring food next week </li></ul><ul><li>BIBLE COURSE – Don’t miss Jeff Cavins and his Bible Timeline. Here at the Center March 17 </li></ul>
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