Summer Reading: The What, How, and Why of Prayer

Jun 24, 2022 | Prayer, Spiritual Life

If you are looking to explore prayer you might try one or more of these links. What is Ignatian prayer? How can I pray? Why do we pray? These questions all speak to a desire to grow closer to God.

If you are looking to explore approaches to Ignatian prayer you might enjoy one or more of these essays and article, which are linked at the end of the descriptions. 

Why Do We Pray? By William A. Barry, SJ 
“We pray, then, at our deepest level, because we are drawn by the bonds of love. We pray because we love, and not just for utilitarian purposes.” The Ignatian Spirituality website has a beautiful article by Fr. Barry, which you can find here.

A Short Course on Prayer By J.J. O’Leary, SJ
Fr. O’Leary explains that prayer begins with reality. Some of the comments and questions are directed specifically to students or teachers, but the full article is relevant to anyone seeking a prayer life that touches the inner core based on an awareness of self. A link to the full article is here.

What Prayer Is By Thomas H. Green, SJ 
This chapter from Fr. Green’s Opening to God provides a basic description of prayer. It’s a meaty essay, that provides theological, historical context for those of us who have not deeply studied this; Green discusses the effects of semi-Pelagianism (Fr. Green explains what that means) on our traditional concepts of prayer and goes on to describe prayer as the opening of our hearts and minds to God. Fr. Green’s article is found here.

Praying with Scripture By Douglas J. Leonhardt, SJ
Fr. Leonhardt explains Lectio Divina and Gospel Contemplation, two ways to pray with Scripture. His essay is here.

Distractions in Prayer By Kevin O’Brien, SJ
Fr. O’Brien encourages those who are experiencing distractions in prayer. His article can be found here.

Experiences of Boredom or Dryness in Prayer By Kevin O’Brien, SJ
Fr. O’Brien counsels careful discernment of feelings of boredom or dryness in prayer. Like all interior movements, they can tell us something. Read his article here .

Review Prayer by Keeping a Journal By Kevin O’Brien, SJ
Fr. O’Brien offers some questions to ask after a period of prayer that might be helpful to consider while journaling. You can read his article here.

Prayer: A Personal Response to God’s Presence By Armand M. Nigro, SJ
A straightforward description of prayer as a loving response to God’s presence. Fr. Nigro describes the 5 “P’s” of prayer and ends with a suggestion for group or family prayer in an article found here.

Hopefully one or more of these essays spark your interest during this summer season.  May it be a season of renewed prayer for each of us.  And, as always if you’ve found something you’d like to talk over, drop us a line, or give us a call!

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