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Why do you pray?

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#1
Mr.Patrick

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Hey , 
 
English is not my native language, I'm still studying it, and this " article" is to express myself in English. So even tho it's has been edited by very kind people,it still my poor English. So please bare with me. I really want to share with you my faith, and hopefully raise this question in you, and together find the right answers and right motivations for prayers. 
 
 I am writing this article to share my own experience, in my own words, about a topic that touches every one of us. Almost all believers acknowledge the importance of prayer, and they desire to become prayerful people. So much so that, in a sense everything they do becomes a prayer, including cooking, watching TV, even having dinner with friends. Before this happens and before one finds this harmony, we must ask our selves: Why should we pray in the first place?  What happens if we don't? This article will be from a catholic perspective, but it can be applied to any person who desires to pray or for whom prayer has become a dry habit . First I am going to define prayer, then I am going to show why some men in the bible prayed, and why I pray today. By the end of this article you will conclude the importance of prayer in past and why it continues to be relevant today.
 
If I open my Oxford dictionary and try to define Pray or Prayer, I would find the following: “address wish or hope strongly for a particular outcome or situation, a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or another deity”.   Something is missing here. A father in my old school said:  “God isn't a Pepsi vending machine, where you just pray a couple of Holy Fathers and few Hail Maries and you get what you want; this is not how prayer works!” Praying isn't doing business with God. That was the old practice of prayer, from which I Hope we can totally break away. Out of fear, our ancestors   prayed for protection. They worshiped the sun, the earth, the volcano and so forth. If we prayed to them, they will leave us alone, and blessed us with warmth and light. This is not how it works with the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. 
Last year I went to a convent run by Sisters of Charity, also known as daughters of Mother Teresa, and I would help them by taking care of the homeless, the sick and the elderly.   The services provided are free to all and funded entirely by donations. As I entered the third floor, where some of the sick men are in the final phase of their sickness,  I saw a picture of Mother Teresa praying, and under it written: “In the silence of the heart, God speaks. And we listen”    
 
Let’s go deeper. In Arabic, the word prayer is “Salat” and “Sila” is derived from it, which means to communicate, to call, to reach, literally to create a link. This is the core of prayer; to communicate with God, no matter which way we use. The goal is to speak to God and listen to Him. Just like Mother Teresa said, we need to give God a chance and listen to Him.
 
There are a lot of ways to pray, like the Ignatian method, suggested by the Spanish saint Ignatius de Loyola. In his Spiritual Exercises book, he asks that you take a scene from the bible, and pray with it, letting God speak to you through your imagination, Ignatius asks us to take a part in the scene, and after that to pay close attention and notice our feelings, so we can know how God is speaking to us today through the scriptures. There’s the repetition way, where you take a verse and keep repeating it, until you feel the consolation of God, until you’re overwhelmed by the warmth of Christ.  Some people like to pray the psalms; these prayers have a lot of emotions, and experiences that suit all our needs and you can find them in most of the Christian songs. Or you can just take a walk, and open your heart completely to God, and just be with him, God is not only in the church, or in your room, He is everywhere, and as St Ignatius would say “the ultimate goal of prayer is to find God in everything”.
I bring this up because it’s very important that we find the best way that suits us. The perfect way for you, is the one that is easy and leads to an open and honest relationship with God. That’s what prayer is all about, to be yourself with God.
 
After a careful selection of the type of prayer that suits us, an important question pops up. Why should I pray in the first place? Why do I bother?
In 2012 two friends and I had a prayer workshop in Cairo, for about three months. On the very first lecture, the father, who happens to be my novitiate master.  A very wise and prayerful man.  Asked us: “In his Spiritual Exercises book, Saint Ignatius wrote that the purpose of this life is to serve God and to save yourself. Now Ignatius is almost 500 years old; so what does saving yourself mean to you today?” And I spontaneously said: “To be happy”. The father smiled, and wrote it on the board. And then it hit me, like enlightenment. I pray to be happy! 
 
Let’s go deeper again. I’m going to show you why some men and women in the Bible prayed. Don’t worry this will be quick. 
Abraham trusted in God and prayed to have a son. Same purpose for Hannah, the mother of Samuel. Moses prayed for salvation. David prayed seven times a day, in good times and in bad times. He used music to express his feelings to Jehovah, His rock and His refuge. Solomon the son of David prayed for wisdom.Esther prayed for courage. Jesus prayed for forgiveness, for daily bread. Paul asks the Christians at that time, to pray every day. He prayed for Joy and freedom, and the list goes on.
 
This shows us that our needs are different, but we all have the same desire. We want to be happy. We want to live the life we are supposed to live.  We don’t want to miss the Joy of life.  This why we should always pray. Of course we should pray for health and money and friendship, etc… but in a sense that with money or without it, we pray to be happy. That our happiness isn’t related to money or to anything else. Praying sets us free. I’m not saying that money or health are bad things, I’m saying that with money or without it, we can still be happy. This is very close to the idea of detachment in Buddhism. Happiness in uncaused said Anthony De Mello S.J. God want us to be free, He want us to be happy. 
 
 
 
 
  


#2
ayin jade

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Hmmm lots here. 

 

I agree that prayer is communication. I dont agree with the way ignatius recommended someone pray. I certainly dont like comparing prayer to buddhist beliefs. 

 

Prayer to me though isnt about asking God to make me happy. Prayer is wanting to communicate with Him and to bond with Him in prayer. To know His wishes through prayer. It is a way I reach out to the Lord to know Him better. I also pray for others which has no effect on my happiness or in how I hear Him or bond with Him. Prayer to me is as much a part of me as breathing. Something I cant live without doing.

 

I would never have known english was not your first language though. 



#3
other one

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I am in agreement with Ayin (as usual).

 

God is not only my creator, He is my friend.....    It's impossible to maintain a friendship without communicating with each other and that is what prayer is to me....    Talking to my friend....      Sometimes it's asking for help, and sometimes just thanking Him for something or asking for something for others or asking for advice on some decision......    and sometimes it's just to sit back and chat.

 

The more you talk th easier it becomes and as Ayin says, it just becomes a part of life....   I talk to God even more than I talk to my wife....   he listens to those trivial things that others aren't interested in.  even  at my age of 67 or so, I've never had God tell me He's busy and to check back with him later.



#4
fire-heart

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why do i pray: its not to be happy but rather to just talk to him and grow closer to him.

how do i pray: i dont need to get on my knees and bow my head, i talk to him in my mind as if he is right there beside me. i dont always ask him for things half the time we just talk but if i do ask him for things its almost never material things like money or something. using this method i can pray at any time anywhere and whatever i am doing.

to me prayer is an opening door to his heart i can be honest with and talk and ask about anything



#5
Guest_HisG_*

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Jesus prayed therefore I pray :)

#6
Love is alive

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I am in agreement with Ayin (as usual).

 

God is not only my creator, He is my friend.....    It's impossible to maintain a friendship without communicating with each other and that is what prayer is to me....    Talking to my friend....      Sometimes it's asking for help, and sometimes just thanking Him for something or asking for something for others or asking for advice on some decision......    and sometimes it's just to sit back and chat.

 

The more you talk th easier it becomes and as Ayin says, it just becomes a part of life....   I talk to God even more than I talk to my wife....   he listens to those trivial things that others aren't interested in.  even  at my age of 67 or so, I've never had God tell me He's busy and to check back with him later.

I also agree



#7
Maui Ice

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All sorts of reasons for me.

 

Prayer request is of course a big one. When I'm in a jam, small or big, I love taking it to him first. He may not be the first to answer my problems, but it sure is easier knowing that I can freely express my concerns, worries, desires, etc to him and that he's always looking out for me.

 

Simple chit-chat. I love just finding a few moments of quiet during the day and playing a quick "catch-up" conversation-wise with God. I know he already has my life planned out and blue-printed, but just to be able to talk with him one-on-one in a loving friendship kind of way. It takes stress off my mind and gets me back into the Christian-living mentality.






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