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Prayer is talking to God, our voluntary response to our awareness of God’s presence.
We are to talk to God as often as possible. We look for every opportunity to talk to God, or to pray to the saints for their intercession with Him. We awaken with the Morning Offering and the Suscipe. At 6:00 am, 12:00 noon, and 6:00 pm we pray the Angelus. We pray before receiving Holy Communion. We pray after receiving Holy Communion. We pray the St. Michael prayer after Daily Mass, or at some time each day. We pray before each meal. We pray after each meal. Many Catholics, after starting their car but before moving it, pray, “Our Lady of the way, pray for us.” At 3:00 pm, the hour of mercy, we pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. In the evening, we pray the Rosary. We pray the Sign of the Cross when we pass a Catholic Church, or when a priest carrying the Blessed Sacrament passes us, or whenever we are in a difficult situation. We pray the Hail Mary when we are in a difficult situation. When we can, we pray the Divine Office. Of course, we can pray these prayers as our own schedule allows, but we are to pray, pray, pray, to God, and to the saints.
We never, repeat never, repeat never, talk to Satan. His intellect is greatly superior to our own, and he will use it to make us think we’re winning while he maneuvers us into a situation in which our faith might be lost. It is more than a near occasion of sin. I refuse to speak to the demons even to bid them begone. Instead, I say to my guardian angel, “Guardian angel, would you please kick that demon in the butt so hard that he flies straight to Pluto, and bind him there in the darkness and cold forever,” or something similar.
The common teaching of the Catholic Church is that there are four kinds of prayer: Remember ACTS.
Adoration is I love You. It is the highest form of prayer because we are to love God purely to reciprocate His love for us, and because He is perfect. This is agape love. (We do not love Him because we hope to get something from Him.)
Contrition is I’m sorry. We acknowledge before God that we are sinners. Reflect on Lk 18:9 “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Contrition is the second highest form of prayer because we must be humble and contrite before we can be open to improvement.
Thanksgiving is I thank you. God expects this of us. It is a necessary part of our healing. Lk 17:11 “On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’ When he saw them he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then said Jesus, ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ And he said to him, ‘Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.’” We can thank God for everything, the Church, our lives, our incomes, our family, our home, our car, our comforts of every kind, and our discomforts that give us spiritual strength.
Supplication is I’d appreciate a little help. God always answers our prayers. But He answers them by giving us what we really need, not what we think we want. If we want an ice cream sundae, sometimes he gives us fresh vegetables because they will be better for us in the long run.
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