Prayer- by memory?…Why?

Catholic or Protestant, we tend to know the “Our Father” and without question pray it.

We pray it at our church services, we pray it before meals sometimes, we pray it at funerals and weddings.


no one questions how or why they say it….they just do.

It is the Prayer Jesus taught us to pray……well actually

Jesus said…when you pray …pray like this:

Matthew 6:9New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

“Pray then in this way:

Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.

In the previous Verses Jesus talks about not praying like non christian’s many words… no feeling behind it

and while it is good and right that we pray the Our Father

I challenge you to think of it as more than just a prayer



a framework for

how to pray

Our Father

Who art in Heaven

Hallowed Be thy name

Thy Kingdom come

Thy will Be done

on earth as it is in heaven

give us this day

our daily bread


forgive us our trespasses

as we forgive those

who trespass against us

and lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil

for thine is the power and the glory forever and ever …amen.

(whoa…reverse….that last line….not in the bible…at least not in this chapter and verse)

but I digress

this post is about prayers… not just one prayer.

Do you want to know the Scriptural Basis of the Nicene Creed?

this is most certainly a prayer and an affirmation of faith.

As Catholics we say this Creed(a statement of beliefs) at every mass in one form or another(sometimes recited sometimes asked in questions and answered with “I believe”)

Coming up with a prayer….in the spirit…from the top of your head is great, and it’s a fine way to praise and give thanks to God.

But sometimes

you don’t have the words.

you don’t have the thoughts

all you have is what you know


the Hail Mary

the Our Father

the Lamb of God

the Glory Be

(said as a prayer in catholic churches but also used as a song in other denominations)

the Prayer of St. Francis

When we pray


scripted prayers

we are not being


or wrong

we are not

merely being repetitive


we are praying with our whole heart

calling out to god

Thy will be done

crying out to the Lord in praise and thanksgiving

these “scripted” prayers


comfort to the sorrowing

peace to the worried

joy to the thankful

when we pray with our heart and soul regardless of words used our prayers reach God

and lest you think I forgot

The mass

a repetitious celebration

a repetitious prayer

to God

through word, song, and actions

we pray to God throughout the Mass

Until death we cannot be closer to God in any way than through Prayer and this Mass we Catholics attend to (regardless of music used or how in tune the choir is)

is one of the most beautiful forms of prayer I have ever been privileged to be a part of

Here is one mass setting (so many to choose from, by so many talented composers….)

and finally there are so many meditative prayers

based on scripture

pick a favorite scripture passage


read a random passage

read it several times


think about what you’ve read

think about what sticks most in your mind

the catholic church calls this form of prayer Lectio Divina


what about icon gazing  this is where you look at a holy picture/ icon and observe it, make a mental note of what you notice in the picture, how does it speak to you, how do you feel when gazing at it….the link above does a great job of describing.

finally I’d like to mention Biblical Guided Meditation

a way of hearing a bible verse read to you and allowing your imagination to bring you into the biblical history story and meet Jesus

guided meditation is powerful and brings many to tears.

The following is one I found about the woman at the well.

and although it is in print only perhaps  play soft music and ask a tender voiced friend to read it to or with you

click here for the meditation


go out and pray

by memory

or originality

however you pray

make the prayer part of your heart and soul and



About ellasurreau

I am a first grade religious education catechist I have been teaching for 20 years I have a BA in Religious Studies I have continued taking classes in religious studies since graduating. I grew up Methodist, and became catholic after marrying.
This entry was posted in bible, christianity, music, prayer, religious ed teacher, rosary, thankfulness and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Prayer- by memory?…Why?

  1. Pingback: Lectio Divina; Praying with Scripture | ellasurreaublog

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