Get on the Floor and Dance! A Primer on Catholic Prayer
I promise this post IS NOT about liturgical dance, but you’ll have to open the article to see if I’m lying. If liturgical dance drew you to this my site, please stick around for the rest.
How many times does this happen in a Catholic parish? A class or event is supposed to open with prayer. Everyone nervously looks for the priest or deacon. OMG. If he’s not there, how will we pray. Nope. No priest. No deacon. One of the faithful will have to open in prayer. Nervously, one brave parishioner steps to the front of the class. A hush falls across the room as all prepare for the opening prayer. He clears his throat, pauses, and clears his throat again. Bravely, he begins to utter the prayer to begin.
“Bless us, O Lord, and these our gifts, which we are about to receive. . . .”
Whew! Crisis averted.
Or was it?
Ever been asked to pray and froze in your tracks? Do you envy converts because of their amazing prayers? If so, this article is for you.
Why are you so scared to pray? Are you intimidated? Do you think that prayer requires knowledge of a foreign language, or magical powers? It does not. Prayer is communication. I’m sure you’ve heard this before? Prayer is communicating with the God who made you, the God who loves you. God is not interested in your command of the English language, or any other language. He is interested in you. What’s more, He wants to speak to you as well.
You’re still scared.
Let me put it in these terms then. Remember how I mentioned dancing earlier?
When a lot of us were in our formative years we were invited to dances. Did you go? C’mon, the school dances where only a few people got out there and danced while everybody else stood around and talked. Okay, now you remember. Guess what? Dances are still like that, except as you get older, there are fewer and fewer people getting their groove on.
In those dances, did your parent ever tell you to just go out there and move around like everybody else? And then you said, “_____, those people know moves.” or “they just know how to dance” or “people might laugh”. The parental answer is always something along the lines of “everybody else is just out there shaking something and having fun, so you might as well just get out there and boogie down.” But you still didn’t get out there because you had it built up in your mind that it was some mystical impossibility to dance.
Prayer is kinda like that. You see, Catholics pray by talking to God in real talk. I’ll get to the beautiful rote prayers later. You just get out there and do it. If you don’t know how to do it, then you can learn by reading what others have done. The important thing is to spend time with God in prayer.
- Still don’t wanna dance?
Consider these easy to follow dance – I mean prayer – moves. Think of this as the Alfonso Ribeiro breakdance instruction kit (Yes, I had it) of Catholic prayer.
- Take a minute to thank God. Dude, if you can’t think of something to thank God for, you need to spend some time in silence, because the list is limitless.
- Can you breathe?
- Did you wake up today?
- Do you have a job?
- Did the sun come up today?
- Do you see how easy this is?
- Take some time to praise God. This is when we reflect on WHO God is.
- God is love
- God is mercy
- God is patience
- God is holy
- Reflect on your day. How did your day go? Play it through and talk about it.
- What happened well?
- What didn’t go so well?
- Anything you need to get off your chest?
- Take some time to be silent.
- Take a second to ask God to help others
- Pray for the people you know
- Pray for your enemies
- Pray for those who have no one to pray for them
- Take time to ask God for the things you need
That’s kinda how easy it is to get started. Like I said earlier, it’s about communication (2 way communication). The more often you pray, the easier it becomes. Once you are more comfortable praying on your own, the easier it becomes to pray in a group.
Nobody who seems comfortable in prayer got that way overnight. They are just well practiced. If you’ll take a small risk by starting prayer time, not only will you get more comfortable in prayer, you will actually get closer to God, which is the real point.
And if you also had the Alfonso Ribeiro tape, instructional poster, and cardboard breakdance mat, I wanna hear from you.