Jul 21, 2006

Rituals can be lies

That was the main theme for Monday's first reading (Isa 1:10-17).

During the Evening of Prayer last Wednesday, I noticed how people said the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be.

They were fast, as if it was a must to finish the prayer in an instance. No full-stops, no commas; with one breath they can finish Our Father. I was only half way through the Hail Mary and they have already finished the whole prayer. Wow. This is really 'impressive'.

The questions I asked: Were they really praying? Did they mean what they say? Or they got so used to the prayers that they become nothing but automatic words? Were they performing what Prophet Isaiah mentioned as empty rituals?

I realized that sometimes, I pray like that too. I slurr the words, my mind is empty, and I don't even understand what I am talking about. Lord, have mercy on me!

Praying means communicating with God our Father. Or in other words, we are having a conversation with God during prayer. I personally don't like it when friends are not sincere during a conversation. Likewise, I know that God would not be happy if I pray the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be just for the sake of praying.

As I write this, I am challenging myself (and readers) to always say what I mean and mean what I say when I pray. Prayers said with a sincere heart, besides bringing glory to God and pleasing Him, we will be blessed with joy, peace and strength.

That is the beauty of prayers (worship & praises to God) when they are said with sincerity and love.


Lorna said...

good thoughts. It's why I'm not a fan of rote prayers - beacuase they can become meaningless unlss we engage al of our being in the prayer and yes slow down.

extemporare prayer for me is so important. That I tell Jesus I love Him, I thank the Father for so many things, I confess that I am unworthy and cleansed by His blood I stand /kneel before him intercedeing for others.

We need passion in our prayers. As well as faith :)

thank you for making me think this through

Audrey said...

Hi Lorna,

I'm glad my thoughts are of help. :) Yes, we need passion and faith in our prayers, in any form of prayers.

Thank you for dropping by and sharing your thoughts. ;)

God bless!

piscotikus said...

Audrey, I must agree with you. Sometimes I find myself rushing, just to get it done with.

My favorite prayer has become the rosary. Although at about 20 minutes in this world if I don't do it in the morning I find myself struggling to get through it thoughtfully. The action of prayer I believe is just as important to God as the content. If you've seen the new Pirates of the Carribean there's a funny line with one of the pirates reading the Bible. He says to another pirate, “We’re not immortal any more — we got to take care of our immortal souls,” he warns his companion while leafing intently through his Bible. The other eyes him dubiously. “You know you can’t read…” But the first is undeterred: “It’s the Bible — you get credit for trying!”

I think sonetimes we get credit for trying. And while someone else is flying through a prayer, maybe God's making sure you won't judge that person. That's one of my biggest things at Church is looking around trying to find out why I'm better than so and so. Little things that I can be so judgemental about is pride creeping in, even at mass.

So let's slow down and enoy our prayer time, because Jesus loves it too!

Audrey said...

Hi Piscotikus!

It's my turn to agree with you now. :)

Yes I've watched Pirates of the Carribean, was really impressed with that guy. Yea, I believe that as well, we get credit for trying. It is much better than not trying at all. God will see our effort, and surely as a generous and merciful God, He will send us His Spirit to help us to pray better.

I have the same problem too in church -- judging others. But I always try to remind myself that whenever I spotted or noticed something about other people, I would examine my conscience and see if I've ever done the same thing, and make sure that I don't repeat their mistakes. I believe this is how God wants us to learn and to better ourselves.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. ;)