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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What Are Your Prayers Like?

by Tom Pappas

Maybe you saw this on 60 Minutes last Sunday.  Scott Pelley was interviewing Mitt Romney and he asked if the candidate prayed every night. The answer was, “Yes.”

Pelley then followed up with, “What do you ask for?”  Yikes. Yes, he asked that. Whoever said there are no dumb questions?  (To finish the thought, Romney said, “That’s between me and God.” But then said, “Wisdom.”

I hope other believers agree with me that a view of prayer that assumes a nightly discipline (nothing against it) where the praying person’s only task is to itemize petition items is quite childish.  Enough said about the interview except to say that it caused me to reflect on my own prayer experience.

What I hear myself saying when I pray is “Thank You, God.”  The most regular prayers are at mealtimes and Laurel and I are diligent in “returning thanks” for the plenty in our lives.  We see ourselves and truly blessed.  When we bow and pray in restaurants I usually wonder, and sort of hope, that someone is noticing that that interesting older couple is holding hands and thanking God for their food.

A majority of my prayers are organic, in the moment.  Sometimes they are the wordless ones that the Holy Spirit alone can interpret to God.

I regularly ask God to bless our church. I dream of WPC being the best expression of itself as God’s instrument in the world. I regularly ask God to bless Lumunos in the same way.  I regularly ask God to bless our family. We have awesome adult children, each with their wonderful talents and sometimes almost daunting challenges. I am totally not asking God to smooth the way, but to guide them to summon their gifts and savor it all – glorious and hard.

What are your prayers like?


  1. I agree, My prayer is one of gratitude & just keep a silent conversation throughout the day with God and try to let God be God. He knows our needs. Thanks for the post.

  2. I don't completely agree. The power of prayer is immense but is neglected through various forms of cynicism. Many good-hearted people will weep in Purgatory when they realize the effect their prayer could have had if they had believed in prayer in lightening the burdens of those suffering. At its highest, prayer is gratitude and entreaty for mercy. But prayer needs to be built. It is not wrong therefore to say to people: ask whatever you need and don't be afraid but do remember God would never grant a poisonous snake ie something that brings the danger of Hell upon a soul. So while the questioner was cheeky it must not be forgotten that prayer of every kind has to be encouraged for answers to prayers - even childish ' please may I have a raise' types - build faith in God for faith in greater prayers: prayers for the orphans, the depressed, bereaved; prayers to change evil situations: war, famine, genocide. But sometimes prayers seem unanswered. It is only through the process of having built that a person can understand that the blossom will fruit even against earthly appearances.