Prayer Matters

Paul Dumbrille

Does it Matter if We “Take Stock” of our Prayer Life?

I think it does. Regardless of the way we pray, or how often we pray, God does not want our relationship with Him to stay the same. He desires us to come closer to Him and to grow in our love for Him, for others, and for ourselves. It is therefore appropriate that from time to time we “take stock” of how we are communicating with God, and how our relationship is developing. This article will ask you to pose a number of questions to yourself. There are no right or wrong answers. The results are intended to provide food for thought and in the hope that you will be spurred to take stock, and make changes if they are necessary to improve your relationship with God.

What is the place of prayer in my life?

How often do I pray? Many times a day; once a day; frequently, but not every day; when I am so moved; or when I face a crisis?

What amount of time do I spend in prayer? 30 minutes or more a day; more than 15 minutes a day; more than 5 minutes a day; more than 30 minutes a week; more than 15 minutes a week; or less than any of the above?

What is my attitude about prayer?

Consider and think about the words that would best describe your feelings about prayer. Is my prayer: necessary; satisfying; exciting; duty; joyous; difficult; confusing; mysterious; boring; adventure; ecstatic?

When do I pray?

At what time of day do you most often pray? Do I pray: when I first awaken in the morning; fairly early in the morning; during the day; at night; just before going to bed; on Sundays; or at no regular time?

Where do I normally pray?

Do I pray: in a special place at home or at work; no particular place; in my car; wherever I am; or other place?

How do I pray?

Do I pray with: formal prayers from memory; extemporaneous prayers; contemplation; conversational prayer with others; singing; meditation; “arrow” prayers for urgent needs; through worship in church; or by listening?

What do I pray about?

The things I pray about are: my own needs; the needs of others; my gratitude to God; my worship (praise) of God; my sins; for guidance; the world; or other things.

Why do you pray?

The reasons I pray are: I find it useful; to converse with God; I enjoy praying; other people do it; God tells me to; I find it fulfilling; or I don’t know why.

What are the results of my prayer?

The results of my prayer are: I feel close to God; God gives me direction; my spirit is renewed; they are answered; I am more sensitive to others; uncertain; mixed; confusing; or other.

What methods do I use to structure my life in prayer?

Do I: have a “Rule of Prayer”; have a method or methods of practising the “Presence of God”; participate in a Prayer Group; have a spiritual director; regularly ask God’s blessing at meals, even when I am eating in a restaurant; pray together with my spouse; pray with our children; act as a spiritual director for our children; have a prayer partner; keep a prayer journal; or have a personal prayer book?

When you have “Taken Stock” and answered all or some of these questions, it would be useful to summarize your findings and consider what you might have learned and what changes you would like to make by answering the following questions:

  1. How would I describe my present prayer life?
  2. How would I like my prayer life to be? and
  3. As a result of this effort what am I prepared to commit myself to?
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