How to Pray 101: A Youth Minister's Guide
During Lent, one of the main pillars of this season of preparation is Prayer. You may have different ideas of what prayer means and what prayer actually is, but in its simplest form, prayer is the foundation of our relationship with God. It is how we communicate with God.
Why should I pray and how often? Prayer is the foundation of our relationship with God and to pray is to accept His invitation of Love and to make an effort, a commitment. Prayer isn't just an optional thing of being a Catholic Christian, rather, it is necessary. Within any relationship, whether it is romantic, platonic, or familial, communication is such a vital part of that relationship. It allows us to grow in trust in our Saviour, it helps us to keep God first, and it helps us to invite God into our lives.
It's not an easy thing though. Each time we pray, it is a decision; a choice that we are given. Just like with anything new, it will take time to normalize this behaviour, this habit, this way of life. Pray often and as much as you can, but if you are just starting to build a habit of regular prayer, I would suggest starting off small and then gradually building up the time and depth of your prayer.
How do I pray? During Youth Group, I have challenged our youth to simply ask God for the desire to pray. This might be the place where you start. If you have a desire to pray already, that's awesome; let's get into how to pray freely.
There are different types of prayer such as the Mass (which is the highest form of prayer), the rosary or other chaplets, and praying with Scripture, but I want to focus on a personal dialogue with God. First things first, you want to find a quiet place where you can concentrate and be intentional. I would recommend that you have dedicated prayer spots (you can make or find one within your homes). After this, begin with the sign of the cross and acknowledge God. Praise Him and give thanks for the blessings He has gifted to you. Have you taken a breath today? That is a blessing. Did you see the sun rise today? That too is a blessing. ASK God to hear you. Be open to what He wants to say and ask of Him what you desire. This would be a good time to ask Him for a deeper desire to pray, an opportunity to pray for others, and a time to ask for help. Lastly, Yield to God. Give Him space to move and to speak to you. Spend sometime in silence and be open to how God might speak to you.
I invite you to find a moment to pray. Be courageous and do not be afraid. Simply be open to the Holy Spirit and desire to draw closer to God.
Seems simple enough, right? It doesn't need to take an hour, you can start off with just 5 minutes of your day. Give God a moment of your day, and He will give you so much in return. Just remember the acronym PAY.
P - Praise
A - Ask
Y - Yield
It pays to pray! So I encourage you to start building up a daily habit, reach out to myself or Father Brian if you have any other questions or if you want to go deeper. This is simply a way to begin, but there is so much more to prayer than what is said here.
Pax Christi (Peace in Christ),