Can it ever be wrong to pray a rosary? Is the breviary sometimes bad? How about your list of litanies? The answer may surprise you.
I already mentioned in a previous post that our life of prayer has to conform to our state in life. But there’s more.
Our favorite “go-to” instruments are certainly not ever wrong in themselves (except for that one hemp rosary I was given during RCIA). But it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that prayer isn’t the same as process. It isn’t method.
Prayer is not your Magnificat, your holy card, or fat, ribboned breviary. Those are all good and will help you look cool in a crowded adoration chapel, but they’re just tools to get you to prayer.
At its core, prayer is relationship with a divine Person.
All the trappings we associate with meditative prayer – the things we use – are merely preparation for the movement of our hearts and wills toward God. Once our heart is appropriately moved toward God through the tools we’re using, the tools can be set aside because that’s all they are – tools. Just as cooking is not the same as eating, methods are not prayer.
You could go so far as to say that technically speaking, recollection, reflection, reading, and pondering on the mysteries of God are not prayer. Instead, they just pave the way for our heart’s movement toward God.
True prayer is “adoring, praising, thanking, and sorrowing with inner, quiet words,” says the great spiritual writer Fr. Thomas Dubay. That means once your interior conversation with God starts in meditation, you should stop reading and reflecting. Don’t continue to plow through that glow-in-the-dark rosary or finish those readings just so you can get them done. That’s not prayer.
Remember, the goal isn’t to finish. The goal is God!
P.S. Don’t forget to grab your FREE copy of my quick guide to deeper prayer – 8 Ways To Jumpstart Your Prayer Life! It’s an easy step-by-step guide to help you rocket to God!