Friday, March 31

Prayer

I'm on Tape 4 of my tape series by Thomas F. Smith. Today he made a very interesting point. He was talking about the daily schedule of Mormon missionaries. He talked about how missionaries wake up early, and they study for 2 hours before working 12-14 hours teaching, and coming home and crashing at 10p. On that schedule, only 5 minutes a day was dedicated to prayer.

He then goes on to talk about how Mormons most often have a very poor prayer life. It really got me to thinking. I pray constantly now. When I wake up, I pray as I get ready for work, and pray throughout the day. When I have the time, or when I'm motivated, I will go after work to either Holy Family or the Cathedral to go to Mass or to pray in front of the blessed sacrament. I do a Divine Mercy chaplet almost every day, and I do a rosary a few times a week. When I get to bed at a reasonable hour, I spend lots of time praying to God and to the saints for intercession before I go to sleep. I treasure these times of peace where I can spend them conversing with God and discuss my concerns and ask for help for those who need it, and to praise God for the sake of praising him. This is a totally foreign concept to me from my Mormon prayer life.

Mormons pray only to God. Because they do not consider Christ or the Holy Ghost part of the Trinity, they do not pray to Christ or pray to the Holy Ghost. And they do not pray to saints, or for the dead or the poor souls in purgatory.

A typical Mormon prayer is structured like this:

Heavenly Father, (only praying to God)

We thank you for this day, and for our many blessings, for the church and its leadership, for the blessing of the Mormon church in my life (thanksgiving);

Please bless me that I will have ... bless my family ... bless the leaders and the missionaries ... (intercessory prayers)

We ask these things in the name of Thy son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Another thing that is very different in Mormon prayer verses Catholic prayer is that much Catholic prayer revolves around the Mercy of God. I am so grateful now for the mercy of God, and His constant love and forgiveness. Because the Mormon church doesn't have the sacrament of reconciliation, prayer for forgiveness can be very complicated. If I, for example, drank a cup of coffee or had a cigarette, I might pray once for forgiveness and assume I'm forgiven. If I have sex and I'm not married, I might have to not only pray for forgiveness but go to the Bishop for counseling and possible disciplinary action. Forgiveness for sins was not discussed much. Doing what is right was always the more important emphasis in the Mormon church, it was assumed that people wouldn't fall, for lack of a way to put it.

Also, I now do a lot of insistant prayer (small one-line prayers as they come to mind) and prayer that consists of either journaling about my thoughts, like now, or prayer by reading the scriptures. The Catholic church considers reading and studying the scriptures a form of communication with God, and I love that approach.

I realized how little I prayed as a Mormon when I compare it to the massive amount of prayer that I do now. And I realize how much my life has changed by having that constant conversation with God. Just my constant sense of gratefulness for the things and people in my life has changed my outlook on life immeasurably.

Also, I'd like to say a big hello to those who are joining us from Julie D.'s Happy Catholic blog and Brad's Defensor Veritatis blog, and invite you all to not only check out my regular blog, but check out this recent post responding to the first comment attached to the post you're reading now.

3 Comments:

At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's too bad you didn't take prayer seriously when you were a member of the true church. If you had taken Moroni's challenge, and prayed 'with real intent', you wouldn't have taken the path you are currently on. But, prayer in any context is good. So best wishes.

 
At 3:13 PM, Anonymous dp said...

Cynthia,

I just came across your blog today. Im a Mormon. I found this post about prayer interesting. I admire you for your constant effort in praying. In a world that is so full of "things to do" taking the time to pray is a must!

I wanted to give some balance to the Thomas F. Smith comments on Mormon missionaries and prayer. A missionary who knows the importance of prayer would pray a LOT more often than 5 minutes a day. When I served a mission, I recall being on my knees praying for a LONG time in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon and always in the evenings. When I wasn't on my knees praying, I would keep a prayer in my heart ... praying for people to feel the Holy Ghost and feel the truthfulness of the Gospel.

Now that I am a husband and father of 3 and working full-time and going to MBA school part-time, I don't pray as often as a missionary, but I do continue to pray often. I pray every morning and evening by myself. I pray every morning and evening with my family and I *try* to keep a prayer in my heart during the day ... especially when trying to solve those finance problem for my classes ;-)

Also, as you said in your post, you consider reading the scriptures and journeling a form of communication with God. I think that's a great way to think about scripture study. I read the scriptures every day and I keep a regular journal ... so that's even more time spent praying.

I consider myself a pretty average Mormon and if that is the case, then I think that Mormons have a good prayer life. I'm sure there are members who pray more often and earnestly than I do and I'm sure there are those do pray less often and earnestly.

And one last note ... the Nephites prayed directly to Jesus when he was with them. I think when He comes again, we'll pray directly to him. Until then, we believe that Jesus has taught us to pray to the Father (see 3 Nephi 19 especially v 18).

PS ... I think the previous poster was very dis-respectful. It's obvious you are considerably serious about prayer and finding the truth.

I'm looking forward to reading your blog every day!

 
At 7:17 PM, Blogger Moneybags said...

Hello:

Your story reminds me of one concerning St. Francis of Assisi. One day one of the friars began to teach the friars and set up classes. And this went on until St. Francis came back. He asked what we going on and the other friar told him.

St. Francis was horrified and wanted it stopped because according to him prayer must always be emphasized. Study to him was of little importance - our relationship with Christ is everything.

 

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