When reciting the Liturgy of the Hours, particularly the Office of Readings, the Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, I frequently make mistakes.  You know, forgetting my place, saying you instead of yours, or mispronouncing the name of a tribe of Israel or those incredible names in the Old Testament. I used to worry about being correct all the time but had to acknowledge my imperfections so much that I just accepted them as part of prayer. Here are ten things I have learned about prayer. You might have experienced other ones.

  1. All mistakes are part of prayer, yet we try as we can to offer God a perfectly recited and annunciated text.
  2. Slow down when reciting prayers, especially the Psalms. Slow recitation allows the brain to meditate on the words and ideas of the Psalmist.
  3. Don’t innovate.  My group at Good Shepherd Parish in Tallahassee says “O God, come to our assistance” instead of “O God, come to my assistance.”  Pray like it is written, not as you would like it to be.
  4. I offer each day’s prayer for a special person in my life. It could be someone living or dead, no matter.
  5. Prayer is lifting the heart and mind to God.  Saying just the words is not enough. Words are the keys that open up my heart to the heart of Christ.
  6. The Liturgy of the Hours is a prayer of the Church universal. Somewhere in the world, disciples are giving praise to the Father through the Son in union with the Holy Spirit. Every hour, prayers of petition, reparation, thanksgiving, and adoration rise to the Father in reparation for the sins of the world, that God might be all merciful to all humans and do not treat us as our sins deserve.
  7. Saying the Liturgy of the Hours in a choir (with alternating sides saying a stanza of the Psalms), is proper. Saying it in private is an alternative  Since I do both when I recite the Liturgy of the Hours privately, I move my lips when praying since this is the official prayer of the Church Universal.
  8. I always say thank you to people, when we have concluded Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary or Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
  9. When I feel bad or sick prayer is more valuable because of what it takes to overcome original sin and renounce self.
  10. When I am not present for the Liturgy of the Hours, my group prays for my intentions as I do, when they are missing.

Praise to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the Ages.  Amen and Amen.

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