A Catholic Monthly Magazine


Bill Lambert

Bill Lambert

I wonder if the Holy Mother gets tired of listening to all those Hail Marys rising up from the faithful. For many the rosary provides beads to fiddle with and a soothing repetitive mantra while their holy thoughts rise free. But in fear of excommunication, I must admit that the sustained repetition of that prayer in the rosary is like the dripping water torture. Being an ordinary bloke I can only concentrate on one thing at a time. Like most men I find it hard to do more than one thing at a time, and can’t concentrate on both the words and the holy pictures.

My generation were regimented in our prayer like a bed of tulips facing the sun … endlessly mouthing the same words, the same litanies in laboured unison. Programmed mental laziness, perhaps.

But God made us all different – with a capacity for a unique personal relationship with him. So how do we break free and express our own special relationship with God? Let’s start with the basics – prayer is all about asking, thanking and praising. It’s also about serving and sharing. It can be meditation, verbal utterance, or spontaneous inspiration, however brief.

The prayer I find easiest is that spontaneous praise and thanks which arises when I see the glorious colour and variety of nature. Or the realisation of the tender love of the Father when I see the precious closeness of a mother and her little child. It’s easy to let that become a habit.

And asking – so many blessings we want for our family, our friends and ourselves.Prayer group

Meditation I don’t find so easy. My thoughts are constantly distracted, and I have to do all the talking. If I stop to listen, there’s nobody there. I need to work on that.

We can think new words for old prayers – extend the Lord’s Prayer. Our loving Father in Heaven, I praise and glorify your name. I’m sorry for all the blasphemy of your Son’s name that I hear every day. Oh that your kingdom could really come to earth and transform this sad old world…

We can meditate on the names of Jesus – Son of God, Word of God, Breath of God, Lamb of God, Redeemer, Saviour, Brother, Friend ...

The old regime didn’t like us thinking for ourselves. But we can revive our faith by finding new ways of looking at mysteries. We can’t hope to understand eternal mysteries, but by pondering them we can realise them more vividly.

We’ve heard every word in the New Testament many times before, but we can try to read it with new eyes, and grasp new meaning.

Religious reading can do a lot to give our faith a lift. The thing is to find the writers you can relate to and who inspire you.

Join a prayer group or Bible study group. Group prayer – listening to others and saying what comes into your heart –can be an inspiring opportunity.

I think perhaps the best prayer is sharing every moment of our lives with God. Remember the morning offering prayer we said as children: ‘Oh my God I offer thee all the thoughts and actions of this day…

A morning offering

Help me, O Lord, to love you with all my heart and to give myself to you without reserve during this day. Help me to seek your will at each moment, and to embrace it, and to abandon myself to it, and to do so with all my heart in union with Mary. Amen.



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