Just P-R-A-Y: A Simple Formula for Prayer
by Deacon Thomas Frankenfield
My Personal Journey
After many months of a personal sabbatical where I experienced the
personal reality of pain and suffering, I am glad to be rejoining the
Holy Spirit Interactive team again. Over the next weeks, I will share
some new insights that my months in the desert have provided for me.
God always gives us wonderful gifts-just not in the wrapping and
packaging we are expecting. So off we go again...
As I write this reflection, I am very aware that I have dearly missed
communicating with the Holy Spirit Interactive readers. You always give
me hope. Plus, as time went by, I drifted further and it became even
harder for me to reconnect with all of you. In many ways, drifting
mirrors an experience in prayer called being in the "desert." Throughout
my personal journey with the unconditionally loving God, I have
experienced many forms of prayer and have had periods of intense
awareness of God's presence contrasted by periods of dryness. In my
work as a Spiritual Director, I find that many experience the same
variations of prayer. The enticement of waiting until the situation was
perfect often leads to away from prayer. Often, we wait for the right
environment or the right prayer book or the right prayer partners. God
just wants us in our simplest form-our heart and soul.
During the past months when I focused on the search the "right prayer
situation," I lost the focus of prayer-God. Brothers and sister, I am
very aware that I had made my prayer life too complicated by setting an
unreal standard. The Holy Spirit is always with me and yet is yearning
to be vividly alive in my life -- I need to relax and be loved.
A Life of Prayer is a Call to Simplicity
So, let's look at a simple formula for prayer that I developed helping a
close friend understand the "right" prayer method for her journey. The
key to a full and simple life with God is found right in the word
PRAY-that's right; just pray.
P - PRAISE God!
Take time to be thankful to God for all
that you have been given in life. Often I am so focused on my needs
that I genuinely forget to count my many blessings. During my
sicknesses, I am crying out for healing and forgetting my gifts. For
example, I have a car to drive myself to the doctors' office; I have the
money to pay my bills. I am loved by a family in spite of my
frustration dealing with my illnesses. When I look at my gifts, I
really do have many things to thank and praise God for. It really
helps to put God's gifts first in our prayer life. Praising God anchors
us in the Divine.
R - REVEAL
Reveal your real needs to God! Next, we share our
needs. At first glance this seems like the easiest prayer form; at
least it is often the most common. I could spend the next hour telling
God all the things I would like to have. However, for the simple
Christian life, I would challenge you to review your life with a
different perspective. Can you tear away those things that are pure
pleasure and see the things that you need to bring you closer to God? A
new game machine might be great but ask yourself how that brings you
closer to God. As we work through that process we begin to see our
needs with a new vantage point. Let your emotions lead your prayer in
telling God your needs, not the commercials on the television or the
Adore our amazing God and all His Works! This next step
is to do more than slow down and evaluate. It means stopping and taking
time to be with the Lord. For Catholics, we have the gift of the
Eucharist to pray before. Take time in Eucharistic Adoration. Allow
yourself to be transformed! Allow the real presence of God to permeate
your being. As a last resort use words! Others will look at the beauty
of God's creation; the beauty of our family and friends. The key here
is to be present to God in these situations-then absorb the goodness!
Y - YES!
Say "yes" being lead by the Holy Spirit! The last
step assumes that we have moved through the above steps. After
praising, requesting and an experience of adoring, we are ready to
completely give our lives to the Holy Spirit. In opening our lives to
The Spirit many of us have experienced God in more of fruitful ways. For
some, Scripture comes alive, with words seemingly jumping out off the
pages; most have a craving for deeper prayer and for everyone, the
Lord's peace and joy reigns in our lives in fresh ways. Can you let go
to the Spirit?
Come, Holy Spirit, come. Teach us to pray. Anoint us so we have no
fears of giving our lives to you!!
For Your Reflection
From a Ministry Perspective:
- How are you modeling a relationship of prayer to those with whom you
- What are your personal obstacles to giving all to the Holy Spirit?
Relax and be loved.
From a Family Perspective:
- How do we pray in our family; either individually or communally?
Are we making rules to make it too complicated?
- Are you ready to a leader in your Domestic Church by walking through
the 4 steps of PRAY. Lead by example and trust God to do the rest.
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