Are you a person of prayer?
That’s a question I get a lot in the South. Our faith and how we practice it or not practice is of the utmost importance to most of our neighbors and friends. There appears to be a genuine concern for our salvation and almost every person you meet will powder you with a few basic questions after a few minutes of conversation:
- Where do you go to church?
- What is your denomination?
- Will you say Grace for us?
- Are you saved?
As a Roman Catholic, many of these answers can throw my acquaintances off.
- I did go to St. Joseph’s but I have not found a church around here.
Which then leads the person to invite you to their church.
- I am Catholic
Which is typically the answer I give after being invited to say.. a Baptist or Evangelical Church.
- I am not overly interested in saying Grace. I’m sure someone else more qualified should
Which is always nice – because typically people want to showcase their skills in prayer. However, they definitely begin to size me up.
- I do believe Jesus died for my sins, however, I don’t necessarily use the terminology that I am “saved.”
Which usually brings a whole slew of questions.
Anywhere else, these series of questions would be considered rude and intrusive. Down here – it is the norm.
Which brings me to the very question that often makes me uneasy or break out into giggles –
How do you pray?
I am uneasy because my prayers are very, very personal. Private, even. Sure – I pray for our nation and my family and for our leaders, however, I spend more time praying for wisdom and patience and sometimes, even a sign. As a Catholic, we have a lot of prayers. Pre-written, perfect little prayers that many of us memorize over the years. They say everything we need to say and I try to say them with gusto! Some people or rather, some denominations, are not a fan of pre-written prayers. Except for one: The Lord’s Prayer.
It is rare to encounter a single Christian that does not know the Lord’s Prayer. Did you know that the last line “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever” was added by King Henry the VIII? Yep. You will notice in many Catholic churches that we do not say that final line. (For obvious reasons. If not so obvious, it is time to brush up on your history! You can read about that HERE.)
I mentioned earlier that sometimes prayer styles make me giggle. Not that the prayer isn’t heartfelt or beautiful, it is the repetitive nature of calling on God or “The Lord.” Sometimes people will say, “Father God, or Lord” over and over within the prayer. Or the super passionate way some people pray.
Here is a great example:
Some of these prayers are culturally different than what I am used to. No judgement, since prayer is a very personal choice. Different styles work for different people. Some are more passionate, some are somber, and some are very conversational.
On this Sunday, I began to contemplate prayers. I definitely believe in the power of prayer. I, as it is written in the bible, pray without ceasing. But more importantly, I live the words that St. Francis of Assisi shared hundreds of years ago: