Prayer is a relationship, an expression of my love for God. With rote, pre-written or spontaneous prayer, what matters most is what is happening in the heart.
Catholic.com says, “What’s important in prayer is that the heart is seeking God out of love for him … God’s message to humanity has always been [that] he is not a ‘power’ to be controlled, but a father to be loved. God does not need our affirmation, he desires our worship, because he knows that we need him for us to be fully human and happy.”
St. Mother Theresa said, “Prayer is the lifting of the heart and mind to Jesus.”
I love Fr. John Ricardo on EWTN. One of his programs is called, “Wasting Time With God-Prayer in Adoration.” He talks about not only repeating written prayer, but about “pouring our hearts out to him, and, in ‘adoration,’ just spending time with our best friend.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Prayer can be a praising of God, all day, all the time. We bless the source of every blessing. Prayer is a simple look toward heaven, a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy. Humility is the foundation of prayer. Only when we humbly acknowledge that ‘We do not know how to pray as we ought’ are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. Like the woman at the well, ‘If you knew the gift of God!’ Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us … God thirsts that we may thirst for him.”
When we moved to Houston, I went into radio, an anchor and reporter in Fort Bend County, then with KPRC Radio in Houston. Next was television, where I worked with all major news networks in Houston.
The world was at my fingertips or so it seemed, but I was a nervous wreck. I was a “captive,” suffering terribly from stress and anxiety.
For many years, I prayed and prayed for God to help me. By then, I was on a downward spiral, negative thoughts breeding negative thoughts; I was on the road to a mental breakdown.
Then a friend invited me to Regnum Christi and I began to understand how I was going against God, his faith, hope and love. I had not believed and accepted God’s truth; not trusted in God and not loved God above all things.
We also reinforced the human virtues of prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude. We attended monthly retreats with awesome priests and had yearly silent retreats called “Triduums.” Most importantly, we received the graces of confession and spiritual direction – once a month. Like the Prodigal Son, although I was “still a long way off,” God, my father, had grabbed me in a powerful way and he wasn’t letting go!
After many years, I can honestly say that God – through my spiritual director – had saved my life and my soul. Like the Prodigal Son, “I once was lost, but now was found. I was blind, but now I could see … I will praise you Lord, for you have rescued me.” Psalms 30:2
Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Finally, in moments of stress or anxiety, I like to pray the simplest, yet most powerful of all prayers. That is to breath in and out the name of Je-sus, Je-sus.
Acts 3:16: “It is the name of Jesus, which, through faith in him, has brought back the strength of this man … It is faith in him that has restored this man (woman) to health, as you can all see.”