Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Prayer for Beginners (the Book)

Awhile back I finished one of my latest favorite books.  I've mentioned it here before, but Prayer for Beginners by Peter Kreeft is amazing.  Possibly, it's just what I've been needing.

I am the type who reads a book and dog-ears and underlines almost the entire thing at times.  Then when my husband reads it, he undoes the dog-ears and I frustratingly ask why. Oh, he just thought they were my book marks.  And, to his credit, I rarely go back and re-read those passages that I "just never want to forget" but what if there was a time that I really wanted to?!

Anyway, here are some of my favorite quotes from his book:

"We pray to obey God, not to "play God".  We pray, not to change God's mind, but to change our own; not to command God, but to let God command us.  We pray to "let God be God".  Prayer is our obedience to God even when it asks God for things, for God has commanded us to ask."

The following quote really hit home.  So often I find myself looking for the next great theology book to read, trying to grow closer to Him, when really I should just take the time to know him through prayer.

"One moment of prayer, of weak worship, confused contrition, tepid thanksgiving, or pitiful petition will bring us closer to God than all the books of theology in the world."

On suffering:
"That is why he does not take us down from our crosses: so that we do not substitute feelings and experiences for faith.  He wants the very best for us,the strongest and most precious gift, and that is faith."

"Comfort yourself with Him who holds you fastened to the Cross.  He will loose you when He thinks fit."

"The only way God can strengthen his presence in our will is to weaken  his presence in our feelings.  Otherwise we would become emotional cripples, unable to walk without emotional crutches.  This is why he gives us dryness, sufferings, and failures."

On stopping and listening:
"What will happen then?  What will we hear?  Let God take care of that.  Seek only him, do not use him as a means to seek any other end.  He is not your Santa, He is your Savior.  I cannot tell you what he will give you, except for one thing: he will give you himself.  He will give you more of himself the more you want him, that is, the more you love him.  He wants to pour infinite riches into your soul; prayer is a way of opening up your soul so that more of God can enter.

"In order to listen, we must look.  In order to look, we must stop.  And in order to stop doing things, we must first be doing things.  God gave us a world in which we are to work.  But God also gave us a Sabbath, in which we are to pray.  Why is the first third of this prayer -- stopping -- the hardest?  Is your work really so important that you cannot stop it for one Sabbath part out of seven to turn to the One who gave you your other work, in fact who gave you your very existence?"

I would encourage anyone to read this book!

If there's one thing that always needs improving, it's my prayer life.  I know when it's really's when I find myself trying to fix things all on my own...wanting to repair my life and heart and then go back to God...not wanting to admit that I cannot do it alone.  While this Lent could have been the perfect time to kick my prayer life back into shape, I haven't taken advantage of it.  It's become apparent.  So, I'm stopping. Stopping long enough to acknowledge the true leader of my life and ask Him for the grace to make it through my days.  My sister mentioned starting a 54-day rosary novena for special intentions.  I think I'll do just that.
Can I pray for you in some way?

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