There are four prayers I fall back on, four that I try and pray daily: Thank You; Please; Help and Wow! They can sum up my spiritual life and my relationship with God.
Prayer is an amazingly simple, yet profound experience; it is something that is hard to teach, unless by example. Prayer is not something, in my estimation, that can be done wrong (except maybe to not pray at all). I mean to say that as long as one is holding the moments as sacred and as a holy ‘conversation’ – as between the creature and the loving Creator – that in and of itself is prayer and there is no correcting that type of conversation.
I put conversation in semi-quotes because for many, myself included, prayer has nothing to do with spoken words, but rather the living words of my heart in direct communiqué (veritable oneness) with God via contemplative prayer and meditation and being in silence in the woods or mountains or by a stream or river.
I say all that to basically let myself off the hook about ‘teaching’ on prayer and rather sharing some of my prayer life with you. For when it comes to prayer, I am no expert or saint, but I do pray a great deal (like every day or else I am doomed).
When I pray, I start and end my days with a simple “Thank You” to God in loving gratitude. And regardless of what is going on in between those waking hours, if I am alive, I have something to be grateful for, namely life (all of it).
“Please” is high on that list as well because if it ain’t obvious to you, it sure is to me: I am one needy little boy. And I don’t mean I say please as in, please give me a Porsche (don’t like them) or a mansion (too much maintenance required). I say Please as in “Please God, come to me, be with me, remind me that You are forever one with me…and as Your child all I need do is re-member my oneness with You…” and all is indeed well.
For when I say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’, I am merely paying tribute to my Momma and my Nana’s who always and often reminded (whether nicely or with a wooden spoon to my behind) that I was always and forever more to say Please and Thank You, especially to God!
“Help” is an obvious one. I need a great deal of help, all day long, every day. It really is that simple. When I feel the sting of hurt feelings or the rage rising up when another idiot is behind the wheel of a car or I am frustrated with the addictions that rage in myself or the people around me (or when toxic people leave me feeling toxic), I need HELP!
And only God’s help will do…most other help is ego-based megalomania.
Yes, God works in and through people, but to me as long as my ego is in check and my level of self awareness is “on” (not self conscious), then I am attuned to the divine help coming through flesh and blood. But when I am out of whack, and the source is out of kilter as well…hmmm, recipe for disaster. As a wise person once said to me, “2 dead batteries will not start a car!”
And last but certainly not least, “Wow!” That is the prayer I utter when I realize all the grace and miracles that surround me…from my dog Juno (I truly believe there is a reason dog is God spelled backwards) to the sunrises and sunsets, to the Blue Ridge Mountains still within eye shot. All is glorious and indeed divine splendor! And the best and most appropriate responsorial prayer is “Wow, God!”
Which then of course leads back to “Thank You, Lord.” And the whole prayer cycle starts all over again.
So, if today you cannot think of what to say to God, might I suggest: Thank You; Please; Help and Wow!