Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I can’t help but wonder
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer. Mostly about form and content.
Being raised Catholic, I was brought up with the recitation format. Many “Our Fathers” and “Hail Marys”. A whole lot of the “Acts of Contrition.”
The first time my Baptist cousin said grace and began speaking extemporaneously, I was startled. I remember curiously peeking out at him from my bowed head. I was surprised by the intimacy of praying from the heart instead of reciting someone else’s words.
Today I wonder what weight is given to the choice of our expression, the duration of our request. Does substance matter? Does repetition provide impact or rise above the clutter?
Honestly, this curiosity has come about because typically I pray, as part of my ritual, before I go to sleep. The problem is I usually fall asleep before I finish my prayers. Or my A.D.D. addled brain skips off to a different thought. So I can’t help but question if I’m short changing the people I’m praying for.
Is it enough to ask, “Please watch over So-in-so”? Or do I need to elaborate? Once I make my request, do I need to make it again? And again? Is there power in repetition? Are my own words better than a practiced prayer?
Yes, as I write this I realize I’m over analyzing. I know in my heart it’s the intention that matters. It’s my head that’s whirling with wonder.
The introspection is sincere. I have a curious beast within that is looking for nourishment. Will you share your thoughts and practices?