My Prayer/Teen Prayer My Favorite Prayer Tools by Dyllan Mamasig From praying before meals to praying before I slept, learning how to say the Our Father and Hail Mary at school, for as long as I could remember, I have spent much of my life learning all different types of prayers. Yet, despite how much I learned, I didn’t truly understand their meanings or the significance of each prayer that was said. It felt stiff, rigid, and more of an obligation than what it was truly meant to be: a conversation with God. It wasn’t until I started attending Life Nights, annual retreats, and Confirmation classes that I learned just how powerful prayer can be and that, no matter what, God is always listening. He’s the type of Father that loves to hear from His children, whether it’s a cry for help or simply a prayer to tell Him about our day. Sure, He’s omnipresent and our Creator, He might know all that happens in our lives and knows of what is to come, but He still wants to hear all about it personally from us. Now, praying to God can sometimes be difficult and you might find it hard to form the right words and sentences to express all the things that reside in your heart. At least that’s how it can be for me. I always feel a tinge of guilt when my mind suddenly wanders off or my hand goes towards my phone in the middle of prayer. But by God’s mercy and grace, He has led me to different tools that I can use to have a deeper and more meaningful time spent in prayer. Scripture In the Catechism, it says that “prayer should accompany the reading of the Sacred Scripture so that a dialogue takes place between God and man” (CCC 2653). Scripture often acts as my starting point to prayer, then it doesn’t take long until the words begin to flow naturally and I realize that God is speaking to me through His Word. Reading Scripture helps me to be at ease and find the words to express the things that might have been weighing on my heart. Music Have you ever heard the phrase, “When you sing, you pray twice”? Although I might not be the best singer, I love using music as a way to praise and pray to our God. Most recently, I find myself listening to the songs “Give Me Faith” and “Walking on Water” to help me go deeper into prayer. Over the years I’ve learned that these songs (along with many others) are more than an addicting melody or a catchy lyric — these songs were written so that I could authentically and genuinely cry out to God. Whether I’m at a Praise and Worship event or laying down on my bed, each word that I sing is part of a prayer that God wants to hear. Being in Silence I once went on a retreat where one activity required us to remain silent for a total of five minutes. At first, it didn’t seem like a big deal but then it came to actually doing it: I remember I couldn’t even last five seconds without my mind wandering to something else. But it was through repeated practice that I was able to learn something from being silent. Sure, it is great to engage in a conversation with God and that is one part of prayer. But another part is taking the time to listen to Him. There have been many moments where I sat down to pray and the only voice that I heard was my own. Then I would come out of prayer feeling more confused and frustrated than before. God wanted to say something, to tell me an answer, but I didn’t let Him because I couldn’t bring myself to stay silent and listen. Sitting and praying in silence can be uncomfortable and extremely hard to do, but when we find ourselves yearning to hear God’s voice, five minutes in silence doesn’t seem that long at all. Using the Hallway Some people might have a special prayer space, like the corner of their room or in a particular armchair. Whenever I’m home alone and get the chance, I like saying my prayers in the hallway. While I do the sign of the cross, I’m already pacing up and down the hallway between the bedroom and the kitchen. These hallway prayers are usually said out loud as if God is right there with me. Doing this makes my prayers feel more intimate since it is in my own home, as well as a workout because there are times these hallway prayers end up becoming ten to twenty minutes long. This way of praying has also helped me to get into the habit of praying when I am going from one destination to another, helping me to realize time and time again that I can have conversations with God even in transit. Laudate I was introduced to Laudate, a Catholic smartphone app, by fellow young adults in my parish. At first, I initially used it to just look up Scripture whenever I didn’t have my Bible on hand, but that quickly changed as I continued to strengthen my faith and started to incorporate Laudate into my prayer life. I’d use the app’s features to read their ‘Daily Prayer’, ‘Daily Bible Verse’, or even just to search up a prayer that I learned but had yet to memorize. I find it especially useful since I carry my phone everywhere I go and it becomes a swipe and a click away. Laudate has helped me to pray outside in public on the bus, while I’m waiting in the car, and even during lunch break at work. The Mass Since we’re talking about prayer, I can’t leave out the Mass. It is the highest form of prayer for a reason. Whether it’s through the readings, receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, or simply praying the Our Father in community, whenever I exit the church’s doors an hour later, I feel refreshed and renewed. While the Mass does provide me with opportunities for self-reflection, it also provides me with peace and comfort knowing that I will always have a community to pray with every Sunday. It is through the Mass and the help of my parish community that I am able to continuously improve and nurture my own personal prayer life. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 it says, “Pray without ceasing”. This might seem daunting or downright impossible, but God will always be knocking on the door to our hearts, asking to be in constant prayer with us. He is the type of father that stands there, arms wide open, waiting to spend more quality time with His children. So don’t wait to have your daily conversation with God and don’t stop at just one. Whether it’s through a favorite song, Scripture, etc. use whatever prayer tool necessary and just pray.