Prayer has always been an important part of my life. I don’t remember Mom or Dad sitting down with me and saying prayers, not that they didn’t, I just don’t remember it. The earliest prayers I remember are what I learned in Catechism. It had to be first grade when we learned the Our Father and the Hail Mary and I also remember the Guardian Angel prayer. I still say them every day. I don’t know if there is a Guardian Angel or not, but if there is one, I don’t want her to be mad at me when I get to meet her. So, I remember her each day in my prayers. She has done a great job keeping me safe all these years and I am grateful for that.
When my class was getting ready for First Communion, I believe that was in second grade, we learned the Act of Contrition, which seemed like a really long prayer. This was said when we made our first confession. And of course, we had to learn the proper way to make a confession. We practiced saying confessions so that we would be ready when we went to the priest. I used to make up really bad sins during the practice sessions because mine were so dull.
We made our Confirmation in the 5th grade and they added another prayer for us to learn. This one was the Apostle’s Creed. It was really a hard one and I don’t remember it anymore. It is similar to the Nicene Creed that we say at mass.
I love saying my rosary although I do not say it “properly”. I’m sure God understands my intent and forgives me. Somewhere along the road I learned the Serenity Prayer and the Prayer of Jabez. I love both of them as well.
When John and I were preparing to get married, we attended the wedding of some friends. The Priest challenged the couple to say a prayer together each day to each other and said it would be a major stronghold in their marriage. John and I decided to take that challenge and we have been saying it to each other almost every day since.
“God, please help me to love John/Marilyn the way you need me to love them today.”
It is a simple prayer, nonthreatening and it speaks volumes in our life together. For me, when I am the most aggravated with John, a little bell rings in my ear and says “Love him now”. There are times when this is annoying, especially when I want to be mad but most of the time, it will defuse the situation. I usually realize that I am being petty, immature, selfish, stubborn, or impatient. I believe that this is God’s love shining though into our lives. The vulnerability it took to pray together as a couple was not easy but the rewards have been great. What other person is there to be this vulnerable with?
Whatever your prayer life is, if you are able to overcome the obstacle of self-consciousness and pray with others, it is a wonderful and powerful blessing. It does not come easy to me but I have made great progress. We tell each other we will pray FOR them, but why don’t we pray WITH them? Somehow, that seems to have more meaning to me. It just takes a little courage; God will give us the words we need to say. I promise!