on prayer and jealousy

08Feb07

I have a hard time opening myself to prayer. It has to be the right place more than the right time. I can’t focus well most of the time, so I tend to pray mostly when I’m in the chapel at school. Its beautiful and on Thursdays there’s usually adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and incense. The incense helps immensely; it puts me in the right frame of mind. It helps me focus and clear my mind.

I envy Islam. “Allāhu Akbar,” the takbīr, is recited at the beginning of prayer, five times a day, and at the beginning of spontaneous prayer.

There’s nothing in Catholicism that is as emblematic of belief, or as easy to recite. The Sign of the Cross is the closest I can think of, but it isn’t easy to meditate on. And that’s primarily what I need. I can’t concentrate when I try to pray, but when I chant something, even in my head, I can concentrate on the phrase, and try to open myself to God better.

That’s what I want, because everyone keeps making the point that the theologian that doesn’t pray has no right being a theologian. Doc has been telling me that for years, since my first class with him (SIX YEARS AGO!!! Holy crap), and in that time I haven’t really gotten any better at praying.

It doesn’t exactly make me feel warm and fuzzy about the maturity of my spiritual life. I will probably sign up for spiritual direction with the Institute for Ministry and try to figure this all out that way.

The husband looked at me funny when I said that the takbīr was a form of prayer. Makes me wonder a little, because he knows far more about Islam than I do.

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7 Responses to “on prayer and jealousy”

  1. Greetings. Are you familiar with the ‘Jesus Prayer’ that the Orthodox use? Sorry if this comes across as patronizing, but you should really read ‘The Way of a Pilgrim’, written by an 19th century anonymous Russian. Even if you have heard of the ‘Jesus Prayer’ before, this book will have you engaging with it more deeply than ever. Pax. HanseaticEd (http://durendal.wordpress.com)

  2. Please modify my ‘of’ to ‘if’. Sorry about that. :-o

  3. It’s not patronizing at all, I’ve never heard of the “Jesus Prayer, and I would love to know what it is…

    Also, is this the book you’re talking about- The Way of the Pilgrim

  4. That is precisely the book. In fact, that is the edition I have. There is a whole world to be found between those covers.

  5. interesting
    in the last Friday prayer I went to, the person who was giving the sermon, explained Allahu akbar to us better

    I feel like you can still use it
    all it means is God is Greater

    :)

  6. 6 pfh

    i stumbled upon this blog.
    I hope it’s okay that i comment.

    if you feel you need some kind of initiation with prayer- you could use a rosary or a cross to pray with as a kind of ritual to get you in the right mind set.. maybe touching one of these things would help you concentrate.

    When i pray I literally have a conversation with God. I clear my head usually before bed and just talk to him about my concerns and also about what i am thankful for. I am honest about what i am thinking and just getting it out through conversation whether outloud or in my head gets the job done. It’s just like talking to the best friend you could possibly have who knows you through and through.
    There doesn’t have to be any ritual or introduction if you don’t want. He knows you. :)


  1. 1 Praying somewhere other than the Church « raining on my parade

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