Friday, 19 August 2011


6. I must remember, when I come to pray, that I am not forcing myself on someone who is not interested in me, and does not want to be bothered with me. I am speaking to one who loves me more than I could ever realise, who has given me my life and all I have, who has wonderful plans for me, and is interested in everything that concerns me. Here I must exercise my faith, on which the success of prayer so greatly depends. If I really believe that God loves me, personally, and that He wants me to be with Him and speak to Him, prayer will be easier.
7. The reading of spiritual books prepares the way for prayer, as it makes us interested in spiritual things and provides us with the thoughts that will be useful during prayer. Besides the Gospels and the Imitation of Christ, which every Catholic should have at hand, and sometimes read, there is a host of spiritual books to suit all tastes. Though we should read spiritual books for profit, and not for amusement, the modern spiritual book is anything but
dull and unattractive.
8. It has been said that the way to pray well is to pray always. This is only repeating Our Lord‘s advice, ―You must always pray. This does not mean that we must always be consciously directing our minds to God; but that we should form the habit of turning to God frequently, and of doing all our actions for Him. At prayer we do not, so to speak, charge a battery, and then go away and draw on it. It should be rather as if we were constantly linked up with the electricity supply. We are not to come to God occasionally and then go away from Him. We should be close to Him always, working with Him and for Him, trying to make our thoughts, words, and actions worthy of Him, ready to turn to Him in case of need, or to renew our offering of ourselves to Him. We can, without
great trouble, cultivate the habit of ejaculatory prayer. Then, when we are free to set aside other things in order to pray, we are not coming into a strange atmosphere, nor have we to assume an entirely different spirit.
9. Self-denial is a word that has an unpleasant sound, but we cannot be good Christians without self-denial; nor can we make much advance at prayer without the spirit of self-denial. Those who are in earnest about prayer are seeking to cultivate the love of God and to find their happiness in Him. But this effort is to a large extent nullified if there is too great an attachment to the pleasures of this world. ―Whoever will be a friend of this world
becomes an enemy of God, says St. James. We cannot have a taste for the things of God while giving ourselves unrestrainedly to worldly things. It is hard for human nature, but Our Lord‘s word stands: ―Unless you renounce yourself you cannot be My disciple. Here is a mistake which many make. They are always looking for pleasure and amusement and their own satisfaction; and then they wonder why prayer and union with God have no
attraction for them. So, if we would be successful at prayer, we must learn to deny ourselves; if we would rise towards God, we must first cut the bonds that bind us to material things.
10. If we are to make progress in prayer, we must do our best when we pray. Practising the piano carelessly does more harm than good. Careless prayer does not make us more spiritual, nor set us on fire with the love of God. Therefore, once again, quality is more important than quantity. When we come to prayer we must try to give ourselves completely to God, and stir up genuine love in our hearts. No amount of cold water will send a heavy train hurtling along the track. It is only when that water is converted into steam that the train glides along like a living thing. When a steep grade is reached, then the stoker must get to work and increase the fire. We have the same task to do in our prayer. But stoking is hard work.
11. Finally, we must ask God to teach us to pray. Sometimes people complain that they find prayer hard, and that, in spite of all their efforts, they do not seem to be making any progress. You inquire whether they ask God for help frequently and earnestly, and they have to admit that they do not. But we cannot hope to succeed without God‘s help, and He is longing to help us if we only turn to Him. ―If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the good spirit to them that ask Him. The spirit of prayer is a good spirit; Our Lord tells us where we can obtain it.
Sometimes we may feel in ourselves the desire to lead better lives, and to do more in the cause of Christ the King; but we do not know where to begin. It would be safe to begin with prayer. If we introduce more prayer into our lives, and, above all, if we make our prayer better prayer, the results are sure to follow. Just as, when the rains come after drought, the face of the earth is transformed; there is bright green where there was only drab brown, and growth where everything had seemed dead. So may we expect to find, through prayer, a transformation in our souls; new warmth and colour, new light and vigour. The effects are infallible if we persevere in prayer. We become more intimately united with Christ, and the divine life which we derive from Him pulses more strongly in our souls. With ambition to work for the salvation of souls and the spread of the Kingdom of Christ may go a certain blindness about the necessity of first developing our own spiritual life. The influence of Christ can be spread only by those who are filled with the spirit of Christ. A lamp will give no light till it is lit; a fire will give no heat till it is burning. The further we want a beacon to shine over the countryside the more brightly must it blaze itself. That is why all Catholic Action must begin in the soul. Study, planning, discussion, are all good, but there must be the spiritual change in the soul or the Catholic Actionist will be such only in name. The most elaborate electric fittings will be of no use (except for ornament) unless the electric current is available. The most perfect system of irrigation channels will be of no use to the man on the land unless there is water in the storage reservoirs. To save the world we must bring Christ into it. It is our vocation, as Catholics, to do that. The way to begin is to be more earnest and diligent in the use of the two great means of grace, prayer and the sacraments.

1. The meaning of Prayer.

2. The importance of prayer as (a) a duty, (b) a necessity, and (c)  a source of happiness.
3. Morning and evening prayers.
4. Prayer during the day.
5. Some ways of learning to pray.
6. Some difficulties and some roads to success.
7. The one thing necessary.

Our Father:
Father: a perfect Father, Who says He will have mercy ―more than a mother; it is Our Lord Himself Who taught me to call Him Father; He has truly a father‘s love and care for me; to Him I owe all the love and respect I can give.

Our: He is my Father, but Father of all as well; therefore they are my brothers and sisters; I cannot call Him Father if I am not also acknowledging their relationship to me; we are all one family of God.

Who art in heaven: Heaven, where there is no unhappiness, no shadow of evil, but all that is good. Heaven is my Father‘s home, and therefore my home, too. I am certain of reaching it if I am faithful to my sonship.
Hallowed be Thy Name: May God be blessed! Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit! May God be blessed in Himself and in all His works: whatever may befall me, I will always try to say, ―Blessed be God.
Thy kingdom come: That God may rule over all; for that I must pray and for that I must work. It was the object of Christ‘s work on
earth, the establishment of the Kingdom of God. How happy would the world be if God‘s kingship were universally
Thy will be done: May that holy will be done in my regard and in regard to all things. God‘s will is always best, even when it means
suffering for me. I can choose nothing higher or holier than the will of God; I can make no better use of my will than to bend it into conformity with God‘s will.
On earth as it is in heaven: That is the ideal we must aim at, that God‘s name may be blessed, and His kingship be established, and His will be done, to the same extent on earth as in heaven. Thus will earth become more like heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread: Provide what we need for our bodily welfare, so that we may be able to serve You. Give the nourishment which our souls need; light to understand the truth, wisdom to see things as they really are, strength to cling to what is good and resist the fascination of evil.
This day: I do not ask to be made rich and independent of God, which is impossible; I am content to depend on him from day to day, knowing He will never fail me.
Forgive us our trespasses:  One of our greatest needs is for mercy and forgiveness, and God is an ocean of mercy. We ask, not because of merits of our own, but because God is good.
As we forgive them that trespass against us: We ask for mercy because we give it. ―Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. If, therefore, we want God to be quick and generous in forgiving us our great offences, we must be quick and generous in forgiving the much smaller offences committed against us. ―Forgive and you shall be forgiven.
And lead us not into temptation: Do not allow us, O Father, to be overcome by the temptations which we must meet with. Be with us always, and keep firm hold of us, that we be not carried away from You by the water of temptation. Whatever the temptation, we can always trust to receive the help we need.
But deliver us from evil: Evil is the only thing we need fear; nothing else can harm us. Evil always threatens while we are in this world; but God is strong; He can and will deliver us if we are earnest in prayer. ―For those who love God all things work together for good.
Amen: So may it be. I pray the prayer Jesus Christ., Your Son, taught us; may all its petitions be granted through His merits. Amen, amen.

1. What connection has prayer with the sacraments?
2. Why is prayer a duty, and a primary duty?
3. Does my practice show that, I am convinced that my success in life depends on prayer?
4. Where do I chiefly seek to satisfy my instinctive craving for happiness, in God or outside Him?
5. Is there anything which prevents my morning and evening prayers being well said? Have I any plan for meeting the difficulty?
6. Outside fixed times for prayer do I ever raise my mind to God?
7. Is it a good thing to keep my religion entirely to myself as a personal thing?
8. People may be offended if I make the sign of the Cross in public. What do I think of that objection?
9. Is there real reverence and a spirit of adoration in my prayer?
10. What is the proportion of acts of thanksgiving to acts of petition in my prayer?
11. Do I ever make acts of sorrow except when I am preparing for confession?

12. Should true love for God be considered beyond the capacity of ordinary Catholics?
13. Do I know myself and my faults sufficiently? Have I definite plans for bringing about improvement?

14. Do I ever seriously examine myself? ―Whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Do I really believe in that promise?
15. God is more than any friend to me. Do I converse with Him as I like to converse with real friends?
16. Is there any book written which is more important for a Christian than the Gospels? Can I say that my knowledge of them corresponds with their importance?

17. Am I satisfied with just assenting to the truths of faith, or do I try seriously to understand and appreciate them by making them the subject of prayer?

18. I cannot pray. Can that statement be made truthfully by anyone?
19. Is it a safe conclusion that my prayer cannot be good, or beneficial to myself, because I find it dull and hard?
20. Am I in the habit of thinking seriously of what I am going to do before I begin to pray? Do I always try to make a good beginning?

21. You must always pray. Have I paid any attention to this advice of Our Lord‘s? Am I trying to carry it out?
22. Do I realise that there is a connection between prayer and self-denial? Am I making the mistake of trying to separate them?
23. The Apostles said to Our Lord, ―Teach us to pray. Are we trying to succeed without the same teacher?
24. The foliage, flowers, and fruit of the trees depend on something hidden from the eye. Am I looking for outward results in my life without the corresponding hidden thing in my soul?

25. Would it be hard to use other vocal prayers in the way suggested above for the Our Fathers?

Nihil Obstat:
Censor Deputatus
Imprimatur :
Archiepiscopus Melbournensis.