The Best Position of Prayer

In celebration of the Holy Mass, people get often confused lately on whether to stand or kneel during the Eucharistic prayer, particularly after the consecration during Sanctus (Holy holy holy, Lord God of hosts…) until the Great Amen (Through Him, with Him and in Him, in unity with the Holy Spirit…). I for one am a bit perplexed on which one to follow. You see, Eucharistic celebrations in our office compound practice kneeling until the Great Amen while in the parishes in the province (where I attend mass), people stand after the consecration.

As I was hearing mass the other day in a chapel within a mall, I also notice both of these practices among the faithful.  This made me remember a particular story I read about the best position of prayer. Allow me to lift the story from the book and share them with you here:

A story was told of three pastors arguing about the best posture of praying. One said, “The best posture of praying is standing and lifting up our hands to God in prayer.”

The other said, “No, the best posture for praying is kneeling before God in prayer.”

And the third pastor said, “I’m sorry, but you guys have got it all wrong. The best posture of praying is prostrating yourself on the floor in humble contriteness.”

Just then, the telephone repairman who was listening to all these arguments spoke up. “Excuse me, I couldn’t help overhearing your discussion. I don’t know much about prayer,” he said, “but I think that the best posture of prayer is hanging upside down.”

“Hanging upside down?!” the pastors asked incredulously. “What kind of prayer posture is that?”

“Well,” said the telephone man, “once I was repairing the phone lines up a telephone pole. I slipped and I was hanging upside down. Knowing I might fall any moment, I prayed, ‘Lord, save me!’ and he did. That’s the best prayer posture of all.

We may laugh but we get the point. The best posture of prayer is the posture of the heart.

The story was on point. No matter how we are positioned or where we are, the best position when praying is the position of our hearts. We may say too many words or no words at all, we may stare or sob or cry before God in prayer, it is our hearts that HE will look into. It is our hearts that bring us to God’s presence and embrace.

handswithheart

How is your heart?

As we begin our novena masses for Christ’s birth, I think it is apt to examine our hearts to fully receive the graces that this season brings. Let us let go of anger, resentments or fears and allow God’s joy, love and hope remain.

And this examination of hearts also falls into the most opportune time – the closing of another year. We might as well ponder on how our hearts was changed by this wonderful year, how the trials and joys of 2016 made our hearts ache and leap.

As we join thousands of faithful in waking up before dawn to join Simbang Gabi, may our hearts be pure and joyful in celebrating the birth of our Savior and be full of anticipation of the best that is yet to come.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

P.S. Kneeling or standing? What’s the real score? You can read Bishop Soc’s account here. 😉

What is Prayer?

Ever since I started a brand new morning routine maybe a week ago, I became conscious if I was doing things right. This morning routine consists of waking up earlier than usual, saying my morning prayers, meditating, praying the Feast Abundance Prayer while looking at my vision board and finally, reciting a list of affirmations. (If there is enough time, I read the Bible.)

Although this set up allows me to find peace easily, I cannot help but feel disrupted a bit at times. Am I doing things right? Should I get down on my knees? Can I do it any better? Is it alright if I pray for myself most of the time?

It’s like I’m swimming in the waters and fighting so hard to float and move. But before I drown, I went back to basics – I stop fighting the water, collect myself and remember the proper breathing for me to float.

Yes, I went back to basics. What is prayer? Prayer is when we talk to God (or the Source or the Higher Being or whatever some people call it). But I think prayer is not limited to words, tears can be prayers too, as well as feelings of love, longing, thinking, and sighing.

Our actions can be prayers too – when we choose to be more patient with a difficult person, when we smile in the middle of Edsa traffic, when we give up a seat for an elderly, or when we are considerate of others’ feelings.

As my favorite saint tells it,

“Prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned towards heaven; it is a cry of recognition and love; embracing both trial and joy.” – Saint Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul

But prayer is not one way. Prayer is also listening to the answer in the deepest parts of our being. Fr. Bob McConaghy, in his new book Closer, said that prayer is intimacy. It means saying to God, “into me, see.” It is when we ask God to see our hearts, our thoughts, our hopes, our fears and our concerns.

Prayer, Fr. Bob said, is when God communicates with us in the midst of that prayer, saying, “I know. So, into Me, see.” This is when God invites us to see how much He loves us, how much He’s right with us and will never abandon us – even though it doesn’t feel like it.

With these descriptions, I finally know that I what I was doing was right, but I know I need to work out my listening skills more. And so in silence, I place my heart.

I hope you do too. 🙂

Or do you have a unique way of praying? Share it to the comments below! 🙂

Closer
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