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A Sense of Humor in Prayer


markdohle

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A Sense of Humor, and Prayer
 
About 5 years ago, I was talking to a small group of visitors about prayer. As we were talking one of the men in the group asked me for help in not giving up when praying. So I said something not thought about often when prayer is discussed, which is the importance of having a good sense of humor.
 
To live a disciplined prayer is not always easy. Prayer is stress-free when we are relaxed, not sleepy, focused, and in a state of consolation. Yet there are days when all of the above may be missing. We can be deeply fatigued, scattered, and in an actual state of desolation, or anxiety. Yet, we seek to pray. In fact, some of our best praying can be done in this state of seeming chaos, because we are truly praying purely for the love of God, and not for the ‘sweets’ God can give us. It helps us to let go of often childish ideas about God.
 
When praying in painful times, we will find that the Lord is faithful and will give us what we need, when we most need it. This has to come from experience and not from simply reading books, listening to speakers, etc.
 
When I am not at my best, or what I believe ‘should’ be my best in prayer, it is then that a good sense of humor helps me get through it. For instance, there are some days when I have trouble even finishing a prayer before I lost my way, and my mind wandered in another direction. Saying the Rosary can bring this out very clearly.
 
One morning I started to say my Rosary, and soon was having trouble getting past the beginning prayers. I would start the ‘Fatima Prayer’, and before I knew it, I was saying the ending of the Our Father. Our saying the Our Father, and finding myself saying parts of the Hail Prayer. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get myself to focus. So I laughed, saw the humor, and told myself and the Lord, well I may just stay here for the whole mediation. I guess laughing at myself did take some stress away and I was better able to focus and quiet my ‘drunken monkey- mind.
 
The ability to laugh allows the prayer to continue since I saw how absurd this must look, or would look if someone could watch me at this time. So I slowed down even more, and just focused on the words.
 
So a life of prayer is not about being ‘up there’ but being ‘down here’ struggling with my own inner weather, moods, bodily pains, etc. So best to see the humorous side to it.
 
It is the intention that makes prayer, prayer. Humor of this type, I guess is based on humility, an embrace of human limitation, and trust in the grace that calls me to prayer. In spite of my inability at times to achieve it, in the way that I think I should.
 
Prayer is friendship with God. We show friendship, and love, by the amount of time we spend with the one loved, and also the amount of energy we put into listening and being open and honest with the Lord at all times.
 
Jesus calls us to be child-like for a reason, it can take a heavyweight off of us when we understand that no matter our state we are called to prayer, and the desire, even if weak, fatigued, and scattered, a grace calling us into a deeper relationship.
 
In prayer we grow in self-knowledge because we are looking inward, observing our thoughts, even those we would rather not observe.
 
I believe the struggle is the same for most people. There may be a few who do not, but I have not met them. So we are in this together, let nothing deter you, and if you do become deterred, just begin again. Works for me.-Br.MD
 
 

Edited by markdohle

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