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.