I have a best friend and I've known him since we were five years old. We both went to same grade school, high school and even college seminary. He knows everything about me. He knows my favorite food and drink. He knows how to make me laugh and how to make me angry. I call him at least twice a week since he lives in the Philippines. He knows all my problems and all my secrets. I tell him everything because I trust him. Yes, I do know everything about him to. That's how well we know each other.
This story illustrates what a prayer looks like. "Prayer can be formal or informal, verbal or nonverbal, active or contemplative. Prayer is communicating with God. Just as we talk and share with our best friends what is happening in our lives, so we talk and share with God. Just as we listen to our friends, so we listen to God." Prayer is an honest conversation with the Lord. We can tell him all we have in our heart and our life. Our prayer life is not always stable. My prayer life sometimes is like "raging bull" (roller coaster) at six flags. There are ups and downs, hoops and loops on my prayer life. St. Ignatius of Loyola calls it, "spiritual desolation." According to him, this spiritual desolation contains attributes
"such as darkness of soul, disturbance in it, movement to low and earthly things, disquiet from various agitations and temptations, moving to lack of confidence, without hope, without love, finding oneself totally slothful, tepid, sad, and, as if separated from one's Creator and Lord." Friends, if you are experiencing this downfall in your prayer life, DON'T WORRY! IT IS NORMAL! Just don't stop trying but rather keep praying.
Whenever I feel that prayer is dry and difficult and I don't know what to pray or what to do or who to pray, I always use the technique that Pope Francis uses. This prayer has been around for a while but some sources are saying it was written by Cardinal Bergoglio. So here it is: Pope Francis' Five Finger Prayer:
The thumb is the closest finger to you. So start praying for those who are closest to you. They are the persons easiest to remember. To pray for our dear ones is a "sweet obligation."
. The next finger is the index. Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you. They need the support and wisdom to show direction to others. Always keep them in your prayers.
The following finger is the middle finger, which is the tallest. It reminds us of our leaders, the governors and those who have authority. They need God's guidance.
The fourth finger is the ring finger. Even that it may surprise you, it is our weakest finger. It should remind us to pray for the weakest, the sick or those plagued by problems. They need your prayers.
And finally we have our smallest finger, the smallest of all. Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself.
When you are done praying for the other four groups, you will be able to see your own needs but in the proper perspective, and also you will be able to pray for your own needs in a better way.