I pride myself on being a "self-made man". I have taught myself many things. When I was about 12 years-old I taught myself how to ride a unicycle. After a lot of practice and a lot of failures I was able to leave the balancing poles behind and set out to ride all over the neighborhood.
I received a great foundation in the Catholic faith under the careful eyes of Sister Dorothy and Sister Bernadette. Yet, when I came back to the faith after an extended leave of 10 years I taught myself by using the Catechism and the Bible and by studying various books etc.
I don't care much for formal classes unless it is something that I am really interested in. I like to do things myself and teach myself. I call it independence but it is really thinly veiled pride. Many would say that it is a great ability to be able to teach oneself but I see it as my greatest fault. I am too proud to say, "teach me." To say those words, in my mind, is the same as saying, "I don't know something, I am weak, I need help. I don't have what it takes." Pride, pride, pride.
In today's Gospel I am encouraged to put aside my pride. The apostles give me the courage to say, "teach me." Here are men who have been following Jesus for a while. They have witnessed His miracles, heard His teachings, and watched Him pray. A pride filled person would assume to know and be able to imitate all that the master has done by now. In fact, just a few days ago we read that apostles healed and cast out demons. Yet, now they are asking simply to know how to pray. For me, this is humility and I hope to imitate it by asking the Master to teach me everything. Lord, teach us to pray!
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How to get better at prayer.
- Set a prayer appointment - Set a time on your calendar each day to meet and speak with God.
- Slowly increase your prayer time. - Don't jump in with an hour right from the get-go. Build up your "tolerance" so to speak.
- Commit - to praying and slowly increasing your prayer time for 30 days. Mark off the days on your calendar. If you miss a day, jump right back in, don't give up.
- Pray - praying is talking to God, it's spending time with your attention focused on Him. I enjoy spending time with my children regardless of their level of development. God is the same way. Spend time praying as best you can. Use formal prayers if you want or simply speak in conversation. Don't forget to listen
- Journal - Our newly revised 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations: Guide, Workbook, and Journal walks you through 4 easy steps that will help you go deeper in your prayer life. It includes 31 days of workbook and journal pages too!
- Read other good books about how to pray better - Prayer Primer, Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer, Time for God, The Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Guide to Catholics Seeking Salvation.