I attended a lesson at church on how to pray. I took notes. I learned good ways to pray. I learned how prayer can help me get closer to God. But I wondered how easy it is for most people to just jump in and pray these different ways?
I grew up praying with my mother and father and my brothers and sisters. This is how we prayed. We said a prayer before meals and we said the rosary together every night. Also I remember my mother lighting candles and setting up a special crucifix when we were in danger of a tornado. We attended Mass and sometimes went to Novenas or Stations of the Cross.
But when I had my own family I didn’t pray with them very much except for a prayer before meals. It seems like the only time I prayed myself was when I needed God’s help.
Later when my kids were grown and on their own, I went through a very bad time and I couldn’t pray at all. I still believed in God. I just couldn’t pray. I was suffering from severe depression and anxiety.
A dear friend of mine told me to write to the Sisters of the Poor Clare’s who have a Monastery in the next county. My friend suggested I ask them to pray for me. So I wrote to the Sisters. Mother Miriam wrote back to me. She said that if I was having trouble praying I could try to say this short prayer, “Jesus, I love you” or if that was too hard for me to do Mother told me to just say the name of “Jesus.” She advised me to say Jesus, Jesus, Jesus all day long as a prayer. I started to say Jesus, over and over whenever I could remember to. Later I could also pray “Jesus I love you.” This was good. I believe saying the name of Jesus brought me out of my depression.
After I was better and so grateful to the Sisters of the Poor Clare’s, I wanted to get closer to Jesus, but realized that I really didn’t know how to pray. I was trying to develop the habit of praying the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy every day. This was going well, but I asked the Holy Spirit to help me pray spontaneously from the heart also. This is what came to me. I started to collect Holy Cards with prayers on the back. I put them in a big manila envelope. Every day I sat on the couch or on the front porch with the envelope. I took the cards out one at a time and said the prayer on the back. I patiently prayed this way every day.
I don’t know how long I did this before praying came naturally to me. I didn’t need to read the prayers on the Holy Cards anymore. The saints me taught how to pray. Now I pray like the saints. I pour out my heart to God. I praise and thank my Jesus every day. And when someone asks me to pray for them, I say yes I will and I do.