Finding your method of prayer

Sometimes I find it very hard to pray. It seems as if there are no words to completely express what I want and need to communicate. In the midst of a deep desire to express my heart and soul to Christ, I feel as if putting what I feel in my soul into words makes it utterly inadequate. It changes what I’m actually trying to communicate into something flat and fake. It’s like when you see something immensely beautiful, like a horizon or landscape and try to catch its depth and beauty in a photograph, only to watch it be transformed from its original form into something two dimensional and mundane. I think that finding a true expression of communicating to God is key to deepening your relationship with Him, and to improving the way in which you communicate your hopes, needs, fears, and desires.

Though I’m sure it varies greatly between people, I believe that finding the best way in which you can communicate with God is what unlocks the door between you and Him- the door that He is standing behind and knocking on. Yes He is willing and able to meet us wherever we are coming from, but it is a two-way street. We have to find the best road to take to reach Him. It’s our responsibility to seek that road out and travel it faithfully.

For a very long time I always thought God would clear all of the roadblocks between us and make up for my lack of communication. I pretty much just sat there, passively waiting for Him to do all of the work. Of course He can overcome that and open the door, but what kind of relationship would it be if one person made all of the effort? Definitely not a good one.

In the past, words used to be the way that I could connect with God. Journaling was the quickest way for me to feel as if I was expressing my thoughts and prayers to Him, asking Him to provide for me and trying to glorify Him. But over time that slowly changed. Somewhere over the past year or so my words started falling flat, they felt insincere and inadequate.

For a long time I struggled to find a way, my way to communicate everything to God. I tried “formula” prayers such as the Rosary. I tried spiritual reading, I tried speaking from the heart, and just dwelling on whatever I was feeling and offering it up to Him. To be clear, this is in no way a critique on any of those methods of prayer. Some of them have really helped me in the past and I believe that they are very important. However after a long time of struggling, I realized that the easiest way for me to feel connected and close to God was through music.

There is an old quote somewhere that states “Music is the language of the soul,” and I wholeheartedly agree with whoever said that. Nothing touches you more quickly, and in an emotional and personal way than music. It’s something that seems to effortlessly break through the barriers you have up. Good music uplifts you, it’s like the ocean – its harmonies and melodies rising and falling- taking you with it. Up to glorious heights and down into the dark depths. Music gives an emotional release that is healing and heartbreaking at the same time. It moves the soul and lifts up the spirits.

I play the piano and love to sing, and lately I have been trying to find songs that I feel as if I can pray as I play them. My limited ability to play more than chords progressions is sometimes a source of frustration, but I found a song called Oceans, by Hillsong. It’s a beautiful song and its lyrics contain exactly what my heart wanted to express in prayer. That combined with the music make praying that song a joy and well of peace for my heart. Even though I’m far from perfect when I play it, I at least tell myself that it’s the intention and desire behind it that makes my flawed effort enough.

Whether its by praying the Rosary, going to mass, journaling or playing music, I want to encourage all of you to use your last week of Lent to spend some time figuring out what helps you unlock that door and bring you closer to Christ. I believe that when you have peace in your prayer, you are doing what is right to communicate best with Him. Even though it might take a little time and frustration to figure it out, once you do, I believe that it will improve your happiness and joy so much as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection and the upcoming Eastertide.

Until next time,

Evan