How To Do Mental Prayer

PHOTO: Geri-Jean Blanchard

PHOTO: Geri-Jean Blanchard

Mental prayer is that interior recollection with God. A simple conversation from our hearts with our Lord, telling him our thoughts, worries, joys, concerns and happenings of the day.  Mental prayer is very much a dialogue between you and God. A lot of our prayer should be listening – listening to what our lord wants to tell you.

Vocal prayers can be said at any hour of the day. Whether it is praying the family rosary, offering up our intentions during the day, prayers before meals or praying with our children before bed.

But how can we spend that one on one time with God alone?

Ways to help start and end mental prayer:

Preparatory Prayer: My Lord and my God, I firmly believe that you are here, that you see me, that you hear me. I adore you with profound reverence, I ask your pardon for my sins, and the grace to make this time of prayer fruitful. My immaculate Mother, Saint Joseph my father and lord, my guardian angel, intercede for me.

Closing prayer: I thank you, my God, for the good resolutions, affections and inspirations that you have communicated to me in this meditation. I ask your help to put them into effect. My immaculate Mother, Saint Joseph my father and lord, my guardian angel, intercede for me.

(Charles Belmonte, Handbook of Prayers)

How long do I Pray for?

This varies with individuals and situations, of course; but the very minimum should certainly be at least fifteen minutes a day. It is difficult to go deeper with our lord if it is any less time than that. You will find that it will become habitual and easier. When this is the case, you might like to extend the time.

When do I Pray?

What time of day is best? The most popular and tempting time is bedtime. We all know however that by this time we are the least alert and awake. The best time is early in the morning. If you can’t delay the other things you do, you could try getting up that much earlier.

Does it need to be the very first thing? That depends. Some people are alert as soon as they get up; others need to shower and dress to wake up. The important thing is to give God the best time possible.

Making Resolutions

Try to make a firm resolution after you pray. Be practical, for example you might conclude your prayer with the resolution to “love God more!” Great!  But how exactly are we going to do this? Perhaps for the rest of the day or the following day (depending when you choose to do your prayer) you could have the resolution of:

  • Each time my kids are cranky or whine, to offer it up for a particular intention (a sick relative, a friend, holy souls etc)
  • Be more affectionate and make time to listen to my husband when he comes home from work
  • Spend a bit more time with that child whom you find to be more difficult
  • Offer up the chores you like the least for that particular friend who is no longer practicing her faith.
  • Make an effort to present dinner to your husband with that extra detail out of love

Helpful Quotes on Mental Prayer

“You say that you don’t know how to pray? Put yourself in the presence of God, and once you have said, ‘Lord, I don’t know how to pray!’ rest assured that you have begun to do so.”

“Slowly. Consider what you are saying, to whom it is being said and by whom. For that hurried talk, without time for reflection, is just empty noise.”

“You write: ‘To pray is to talk with God. But about what?’ About what? About Him, about yourself: joys, sorrows, successes and failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions: and Love and reparation.”

“You don’t know what to say to our Lord in your prayer. You can’t think of anything, and yet you would like to consult him on many things. Look: make some notes during the day of whatever you want to consider in the presence of God. And then take these notes with you to pray.”

“Persevere in prayer. Persevere, even when your efforts seem barren. Prayer is always fruitful.”

(The Way: St Josemaria Escriva – founder of Opus Dei)

If you have any good books with points of meditation for Mental prayer, please share it with us!

References:

Friends of God

Handbook of Prayers

Filed Under: FaithSpirituality

About the Author: Mother of 6 children. 4 boys and 2 girls. A proud stay-at-home-mum and Co-founder of the website. Jill has a strong Catholic faith. "I believe it's really important to have a support network for mums to connect and learn from each other." She also has a Degree in Primary Teaching from Melbourne University.

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