Yes, If You Use Your Own Prayer Language.
Do you struggle praying daily?
I did. For years.
But no matter what I felt, I prayed anyway. That was the “teaching” and “rule” for good Christians like me.
So each day, I went into my room and talked to God.
30 minutes, I was taught. So 30 minutes I did.
Some days, it was Ok.
Some days, it was like being root-canalled.
Or lipo-suctioned. (Just in case you’re wondering, I’ve never experienced it, but my friends tell me it’s torture.)
During those difficult days of prayer, every part of me wanted to get out of that room. I felt so dry. So empty. So distant from God.
And I didn’t know why. Why did I feel so depressed?
I simply concluded it was the spiritual dryness that saints experienced regularly (Ahem.) I read that St. Therese of Avila had spiritual dryness that lasted for 20 years. Who was I to complain?
Until I stumbled upon what I now call “Prayer Language”.
Today, I realize that perhaps many people’s spiritual dryness come from simply not loving themselves. How? By not respecting their own personality, not listening to their needs, and not using their own prayer language.
My Spiritual Arrogance
Once upon a time, I thought there was only one way of praying: My way!
My way of praying meant going to a room, sitting down or standing up, and singing, listening, and talking to God. For years, I’d teach people to do this exact same thing. I called it “Prayer Time” and it had only one definition–Mine.
I remember a woman who said, “Bo, I do my gardening every morning. And when I do, I imagine Him gardening beside me. Surrounded by the fresh air and the beauty of the flowers around me, I spend time with Him. As I dirty my hands with the soil of the earth, I’m blessed. And I feel so refreshed each morning…”
I frowned at her. I said, “That’s nice. But you still need a formal prayer time where you go into a room–and then sit down and stand up. And then use A.C.T.S.–Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, and Supplication…”
Forgive me Lord for my spiritual arrogance!
Perhaps a part of me looked down on anyone who was having too much fun in their prayer life. How could she when I was suffering through my prayers?
I never saw that she was probably closer to God than I was.
Because God made her a gardener. And He was meeting her in the garden. God was talking to her with the prayer language He gave her.
What Is Your Prayer Language?
I still meet people who insist that others pray the way they pray.
“You should go to the Blessed Sacrament and kneel for an hour…”
“You should pray in tongues…”
“You should pray the Liturgy of the Hours…”
“You should pray, worship, jump, and dance like in a prayer meeting…”
“You should pray the rosary…”
“You should pray in quiet, emptying your mind…”
All of the above are prayer languages.
But never the language.
There is no such thing.
Today, I tell people to discover their own prayer language.
And boy, did I feel relieved that my prayer language wasn’t going into a room and doing the A.C.T.S. No wonder I had great difficulty! I felt disconnected.
My Prayer Language?
Here’s what I do for my daily time with God….
In the morning, I walk out of the house and pray in tongues. That’s just a few minutes of walking slowly, absorbing the sunlight, and inhaling God’s Presence and the beauty of the new day. I claim the blessings of the day. I pray the Novena to God’s Love prayer. (Note: I mail this Novena to all those who partner with my ministry and sign up in www.kerygmafamily.com FREE.)
Why do I pray outside? Because I love nature. I feel God’s Presence much more outdoors than indoors. That’s just how God made me.
I then go into the house, fire up my laptop, and “pray” my Dreambook. This is a 15-page document that lists my ultimate mission in life. (My mission in life is composed of 4 words: “To Communicate God’s Love”.) It also lists my long-term dreams as well as my goals for the year. Why do I pray this way? Because God designed my psychology as a “futurist”.
And then, I start writing. I write my prayers, my reflections, and my insights. When I do this, I feel God’s Presence in a very palpable way. Why? Because God made me a writer, and writing is my prayer language.
I no longer struggle much when I pray.
I love praying. I have fun.
Because now, prayer can be all these activities and more.
Because I’m not stuck with one way of praying.
Because I’m using my prayer language–the language God gave me.
Because prayer is a relationship, not a fixed set of things to do imposed upon me by other people.
Hey, I’ve now come to respect the prayer languages of my friends too…
Examples of Prayer Languages
· One of my friends is a music lover. So each morning, he plays his worship CD. And he sings along for the next 8 to 10 songs, worshipping the Lord. He tells me that this prayer time really connects him to the Lord.
· My athletic uncle jogged daily. (He’s 80 now, so he’s slowed down.) But for years, he ran for miles. And he told me that each morning, he’d talk to God like the Almighty was jogging right beside him.
· A friend loves quiet. She walks to a nearby chapel and spends quiet time before the Blessed Sacrament. She loves it.
Praying Creatively In Difficult Circumstances
Some friends pray in creative ways by the force of their circumstances. In my immature days, I used to judge them, insisting that they “find” proper time for God. Today, I’ve come to admire them very much…
· A friend lives in Sta. Rosa Laguna and travels two hours to work and another two hours going home. She can sleep only 4 hours a day. But thanks to the heavy roadwork now in South Luzon Express Way, her relationship with God has been repaired too. Half of her travel time, she sleeps. And the other half, she turns the bus into her private chapel.
· A new mother can only grab snippets of prayer when she makes her baby sleep. Her “lullabies” are worship songs.
Friend, are you having difficulty praying daily?
What is your prayer language?
Tell me about it in the comments below. And share it to the world too. Someone might get encouraged by your way of praying.
And yes, forward this article to anyone who needs encouragement to pray!
May your dreams come true,
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