Friday morning, I drove to Miami, OK to take my dad to a doctor’s appointment. On my drive to and from, I listened to some podcasts. One of them was the “Word on Fire Show: Episode 169, The Metaphysics of Prayer.” It could not have been more timely.
Over the last ten years of diving into my Catholic faith, I have learned there are different types of prayer. Traditional Catholic prayers fall into one of four types: Adoration, praising God; Contrition, asking for God’s forgiveness; Petition, asking God for a favor; and Thanksgiving, showing God gratitude. I’m heavy on Contrition and Thanksgiving, almost to a fault.
As Catholics, we have many many prayers to recite from, but I always wanted to pray spontaneously in a way that didn’t sound simple or selfish. When I was younger, I was in awe of all the Protestant kids who could rattle off a prayer at the dinner table that was both spiritual and personal. It was no wonder why they stopped asking me to say the blessing after the first time they heard “Bless us O Lord…”. It was as dry as the breakfast toast. The other kids would look at me like, “what’s a ‘bounty’?”
When I went off to college and was seeking God through some very tough times in my life, I started to talk to Jesus like he was a buddy. I thought it would connect me with Him in a more personal way, but frankly I wasn’t ready for it, yet.
I wasn’t on the wrong track. Bishop Barron says we can visualize ourselves with Jesus kneeling/sitting with his arm around us, praying to the Father through the Holy Spirit. That visualization isn’t too far off from how I’ve been picturing it. However, I’ve always wondered how to tie the Holy Spirit into the whole prayer-trinity mix. The Good Bishop laid that out well.
Listening to that podcast on my way to see my dad, as I said was appropriate. *Confession alert!* I have a hard time praying for my dad, sometimes. Long story for another blog…or two…or a whole book, but it’s been tough taking care of my dad. I needed the long drive to honestly talk to the Father about how I was feeling about my father. The Blessed Mother got me through the death of my mother, so it seems fitting that the Father guides me along this path with my dad.
As I make more room for prayer in my life, I imagine it gets easier to pray and the words come more naturally. Sometimes, I have to say to God, “Look, you know how I’m feeling. That. That is what I want to talk to you about.” And I think He is okay with that. I believe He knows I’m trying. Thanks be to God.