Friday, September 18, 2009

How can I pray better?

Portrait of St Augustine as a young man
St. Augustine as a young man

How can I
pray better?

How do I know
that God hears
my prayers?

Why must I ask
for things that
God already
knows I need?

How can I
'pray always,'
as Jesus commands?

Such were the questions that perplexed a young North African man, Augustine Aurelius (354-430), whose intense yearning for God led him into a profound and lifelong encounter with Christ in prayer.

There Augustine found answers to these questions and to countless more --- answers not grounded in his own brilliance, but in prayer itself.


Statue of St Augustine the bishop

In time, Augustine became a bishop and a Father of the Church, and has long been numbered among her saints.

Yet, of all the Church's saints, not one expresses the longing for God more beautifully, or explores the nature of prayer more helpfully, than St. Augustine.

His words speak to us today as freshly as they did to his contemporaries.


St. Augustine wrote many books, but never one devoted to prayer alone. Indeed, his teachings on prayer are scattered in many places.

So from over 200 works, Fr. Cliff Ermatinger has gathered and translated Augustine's teachings on prayer, and now presents them here in a simple question-and-answer format.

What emerges is nothing less than a rich new "catechism on prayer" by one of the Church's greatest saints.

St Augustine Answers 101 Questions (book jacket)

In this book, Augustine answers
the following questions for you,
and dozens more:

Where should I
look for God?

What should I do when I
don't feel drawn to prayer?

If God wants me to
find him, why does he
play hide-and-seek?

How can I guarantee that
God will hear my prayer?

What will help me along the
way in the life of prayer?

Is song really a
kind of prayer?

Does God ask anything
of me in prayer?

How can I turn
my heart to God?

Why are some people's
prayers not answered?

Is there something I
can be sure to receive
if I ask for it?

Does it matter what posture
I adopt in prayer?

Do I really have to pray
for God's grace?

How long should
I pray?

Does prayer come to
an end in heaven?

Plus, Augustine will explain for you
-- as only a saint can -- the following:

The nature of prayer * The types of prayer * How to find God in prayer * Christ's essential role in your prayers (Do you think you are alone when you struggle to pray?) * The effects prayer is having in your soul * How prayer and grace are working together in you * What you should always pray for (and what you must never pray for) * And even how you can pray always, even while overwhelmed with troubles and daily tasks.


Prayer is essential for salvation,
yet no one prays well enough
-- not me, not you.

In these pages St. Augustine,
the Church's great master of prayer,
shows you how to pray better
and to pray in ways that guarantee
your prayers will be heard by God
-- and answered.

St Augustine Answers 101 Questions (book jacket)

St. Augustine Answers
101 Questions on Prayer

Compiled and edited by
Fr. Cliff Ermatinger
$12.95 144 pgs ppbk

Sophia Institute Press
Box 5284, Manchester
NH 03108

More Fine Books on Prayer

Prayer and the Will of God (book cover)

Prayer of the Presence of God (book cover)

Prayer and
the Will of God

Dom Hubert Van Zeller
176 pages $12.95

Prayer is our lifeline to heaven, but most of us find prayer easy to neglect and even to forget. We tend to avoid it, and sometimes even resist it. Our fitful efforts at regular prayer frustrate and disappoint us.

Dom Hubert van Zeller knows why.

"Prayer," says this beloved Benedictine monk who taught scores of souls to pray, "comes from God, is kept going by God, and finds its way back to God by its own power." Prayer is not something we do, but something God does in us.

Which means that all these years, most of us have approached the problem of prayer backward: we've struggled to pray instead of working to remove obstacles to prayer from our hearts --- obstacles that prevent God from praying in us and through us.

Sound mystical? Perhaps. But living in accordance with this single truth, elaborated in these pages, not only will make regular prayer possible for you; it will transform your prayers into a source of joy.

Here you'll discover the true meaning and the proper ways of prayer. You'll learn the secret of prayer from the example of Christ in the Gospels and from the prayers of the saints. You'll find out how to overcome distractions in prayer and how to deal with disappointment when your prayers seem not to have been answered.

Finally, you'll learn how to accept God's will, no matter how puzzling it may seem; and even --- yes --- to love it.

Never forget that prayer is your lifeline to heaven. These pages will help you grasp it firmly and never let go. What more could you ask of any book?

The Prayer of
the Presence of God

Dom Augustin Guillerand
192 pages $14.95

A thousand years' silence has enabled the Carthusian monks to perfect a way of praying suited for the cloister, but it's also right for those of us whose obligations force us to work and pray in the rush and hurry of the world.

In these pages, the monk Augustin Guillerand reveals the secret of the Carthusian's remarkable prayer of the presence of God.

Obviously, this way of praying excludes quick Our Father's and hasty Hail Mary's, but it also requires that we do more than pause and say our prayers slowly.

In fact, the Carthusians know that the prayer of the presence of God isn't primarily a question of speed . . . or even of speech. Like love, it's not so much a deed as an attitude--- a habit of tranquil listening that allows God to enter our souls by all paths and to establish His presence there.

Failure to listen poisons love in marriages; and failure to listen poisons love of God.

That's why the prayer of the presence of God is essential not just for monks, but for all of us, no matter what our circumstances may be.

Yet how can we listen in a way that allows God to enter our souls? How can we even hear Him in the noise of our days and ways?

A thousand years of Carthusian experience provide sure answers to these questions. Though this is no step-by-step manual (listening can't be reduced to steps), you'll learn where you must begin and how to proceed if you're finally to bring to maturity in your own soul the habit of tranquil listening that's essential for all those who would know God and love Him as they ought.

Prayer and
the Will of God

Dom Hubert Van Zeller
176 pages $12.95

The Prayer of
the Presence of God

Dom Augustin Guillerand
192 pages $14.95

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

True Love

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It a...lways protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Philippians 2:9-11

Therefore God has highly exalted Him!
and bestowed on Him the Name that is above all names.

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Family Prayer

Please read with sincere Faith.

This is an awesome prayer.

Believe it and you shall be blessed.

The problem with many of us is that we don't believe that God will open a window and pour out blessings that we won't have enough room to receive them. I dare anyone to try God. He is true to His Word. God cannot lie and His promises are sure.

Three things will happen to you this coming week:

(1) You will find favor with someone you don't expect;

(2) You will be too relevant to be ignored;

(3) You will encounter God and you will never remain the same.

My prayer for you today:

The eyes beholding this message shall not behold evil, the hands that will send this message to others shall not labor in vain, the mouth saying Amen to this prayer shall laugh forever. Remain in God's love as you send this prayer to everybody on your list. Have a lovely journey of life! Trust in the Lord with all your heart and He will never fail you because He is AWESOME!

If you truly need a blessing, continue reading this email:

Heavenly Father, most Gracious, and Loving God, I pray to you that you abundantly bless my family and me. I know that you recognize, that a family is more than just a mother, father, sister, brother, husband and wife, but all who believe and trust in You. Father, I send up a prayer request for blessings for not only the person who sent this to me, but for me and all that I have forwarded this message on to. And that the power of joined prayer by those who believe and trust in You is more powerful than anything. I thank You in advance for Your blessings.

Father God, deliver the person reading this right now from debt and debt's burdens. Release Your Godly wisdom that I may be a good steward over all that You have given me Father, for I know how wonderful and mighty You are and how if we just obey You and walk in Your Word and have the faith of a mustard seed that You will pour out blessings. I thank You now Lord for the recent blessings I have received and for the blessings yet to come because I know You are not done with me yet.

In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Take 60 seconds and send this on quickly and within hours, you will have caused a multitude of people to pray to God for each other.

Then sit back and watch the power of God work in your life for doing the thing that you know He loves.

Remain Blessed.