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Is There a Correct Way to Pray?

A listener named Todd calls into the show and shares that he has recently returned to the Church after being away for 20 years. He asks, “What is the correct way to pray?” He explains that there are so many different kinds of prayer that it confuses him as to which prayer form is the correct one.

Father Dave responds, “There are modalities to prayer, meaning there are different ways to pray. Prayer can be very personal, in that there are some things that tend to be energizing and fruitful for certain people that would not be for other people. Many of our Christian brothers and sisters from around the world of different traditions, oftentimes a staple of their prayer life would be more spontaneous, unscripted prayer in conversation with God. Catholics do this as well. … I find it wonderful that we can lean on a 2,000-year tradition of words that have been prayed. … So, if I don’t have the right words, I know that there are ways in which I can still communicate with God.”

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“The practice of presence is a key component of prayer. Setting a time and space for prayer is helpful as well. It might be carving out your commuting time. … Sometimes it is a matter of committing to being present to God. For some people, that’s way too ambiguous. Which is why I like the fact that we can rely on the resources of the Catholic Church that we’ve used for centuries. So, it could be some of the memorized prayers. … I would definitely look at some of the traditional prayers of the Church, like the Liturgy of the Hours. The words of the Psalms are arranged into a four-week cycle. If you have a busy schedule, and only have time in the evening, you can crack open the book and pray evening prayer. It has prayers for certain parts of the day. That’s one option of many, but I would say it is a great time for you to explore what might be the right prayer form for you.” (Original Air 6-06-18)

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