September has always been a time of renewal for me. Something about the smell of fall, the beginning of the school year and the promise of a chance to remake my life appeals to me. I feel renewed in the autumn months. I was married in the fall. I have had a few babies in the fall. I love the newness of this time even more than springtime.
The fall is a time to take inventory as we get ready for a new year of teaching. A time to explore ways to grow in our own faith and prayer lives.
Saint Paul said, “When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Cor. 13:11) As our faith matures, we realize that God is not just a magical wish master, who grants everything we ask. We begin to understand that prayer is a two-way relationship. Rather than listing our desires to the Lord, we begin to seek His understanding and wisdom in all things. We cease to only ask things of the Lord and we begin to ask Him instead what He wants us to do.
The psalmists encourage us to pray in many ways. By following their examples we find our prayer lives enriched by including prayers of thanksgiving, praise, sorrow/contrition, and requests for guidance in all things. The Mass includes these types of prayers and is an excellent example of how we too should pray.
The Mass begins with the Sign of the Cross, a simple prayer to remind us of the Holy Trinity and Christ’s sacrifice. We then move on to a prayer of repentance. We go on to praise God, to offer our own sacrifices to him and we end the Mass in thanksgiving.
As we grown in age and in faith, we begin to appreciate the layers of prayer in our lives and present in the Mass. As Saint Paul tells us in Eph. 6:18 "With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the spirit."
Ideas for prayer
St. Paul advises us to “pray constantly.” (1 Thes. 5:17) We can find opportunities everyday to worship through different types of prayer.
- Contemplative Prayer
- Singing (worship songs)
- Prayer boxes
- Reading the Bible