Why do we struggle with how to pray?
Perhaps we put too much emphasis on a prayer needing to be eloquent and long. Or maybe we over-spiritualize it. Sometimes we separate prayer from the rest of life; we look at it as something we do at prayer meetings or in our quiet time.
It’s easy to get caught up in wondering if there is a correct way to pray, but all you have to do is speak. Simply, tell God what is on your heart by talking to Him. God cares for you and wants you to share your life with Him.
“It is so much easier to help others find their way in life when we take time regularly to reflect on our purpose in life. Pausing to pray helps us reflect,” said Sister Judith Ann Duvall, O.S.F., chairperson of the OSF HealthCare Boards. “Finding a space in our life for leisure can sharpen our focus. Journaling helps us be more reflective and can help to enrich our conversation with others. Prayerfully reading the Sacred Scriptures can open our eyes and hearts to our true path in life.”
The words of St. Paul
Sister Judith Ann points toward the words of St. Paul in his First Letter to the Thessalonians: “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
How blessed our life’s journey can be when we develop the habit of praying daily, even praying always, as St. Paul instructs us to do, she said.
“In many ways this is a further deepening of the Practice of the Presence of God. The more we are aware of God’s presence in our lives, the more easily, naturally and frequently we will think of God, speak to Him, love Him, serve Him and serve Him in others throughout our day. In this way our life can become a constant prayer,” she said.
Four steps to consider
This practice of habitual prayer, Sister Judith Ann said, helps us find our way and helps us more clearly help others find their way. She offers the following four thing to consider when offering a prayer:
- Acknowledge God as Present.
- Lift up something you are grateful for, maybe the beauty you experience in His creation or in something wonderful that happened that day or recently.
- Lift up your request for help or guidance for the work you are engaged in.
- Conclude the prayer “In the Name of Jesus” or “in His Holy Name” and offer an “Amen.”
“The stories of many Saints, holy men and women, and our Sisters from our pioneer days to the present, give witness to the importance of daily prayer,” Sister Judith Ann said. “Our Sisters begin each day by praying what is called ‘The Morning Offering.’ The key elements involve offering to God our whole day and every part of ourselves – thoughts, words, actions and joys as well as sufferings ALL for the honor and glory of God. This helps to make everything we do so very meaningful in His eyes.”
‘Five Finger Prayer’
The “Five Finger Prayer” was developed by Pope Francis, long before he was elected to be the Pope. He published this prayer method as a way to make prayer more accessible and help people pray for those who need prayer the most. It is a simple, yet effective, way to pray.
Stretch your hand out and take a look at your five fingers, beginning with the thumb.
- Your thumb is nearest to you, so begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is a “sweet duty.” While praying for our loved ones is easy the Bible also tells us to pray for our enemies who, in a negative way, are also near us.
- The next finger is the pointing finger. The pointing finger reminds us of those who instruct so pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction.
- The next finger is the tallest finger. Our tallest finger reminds us of those who are in charge. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God’s guidance.
- The fourth finger is our ring finger. The ring finger is our weakest finger. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night.
- And lastly comes our little finger. The smallest finger of all. Which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. Your pinky should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.
What’s in your heart?
Finally, when you pray, lay out what is on your heart, the good and the bad, and pray that God’s will be done.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28
Request a prayer
As part of the health care ministry of The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, we welcome your prayer requests. All requests are received and held anonymously.
We are privileged to bring your needs before God. The Sisters, our OSF Chaplains and our employees, at their choice, pray specifically for the needs submitted here.
May God Bless You this day and always.