A Matter of Semantics

Someone asked me if I pray often. As a Catholic, I suppose I am accustomed to thinking of prayer as a formal thing. I will admit I do not say the Lord's Prayer often. I do pray the rosary, but mostly in times of deep personal turmoil or great anguish. So in the traditional Catholic sense of the word, no. I don't pray often. There is another point of view, though. I talk to God quite a bit.

I don't make appointments to talk to my mother, and I don't wait for Sunday to talk to God. No day passes that I don't express an appreciation for something, request guidance, ask Him to protect someone or ask a question of God. Is that praying? I think it is. I feel closest to Him when I think of Him as a parent. My dad wouldn't have wanted me to talk to him using only a script. He would want real conversations, about real things that mattered to me or to him.

In the same way that I want my children to come to me with their joys and their sorrows, I try to make sure I let God in on the good stuff, too. I try to notice the blessings, admire His handiwork, and bitch as little as possible. I am not afraid to run to Him like a frightened child when I need to. I just don't want to forget to present Him, every once in while, with a fistful of wildflowers....roots and all.

Make no mistake about it: there is certainly a place for traditional prayers in my life. At those times when my worry or fear or pain is so great, my own words escape me. Those dreadful times of anguish that the only thing my brain can do is scream or bawl, words I memorized as a child come to me by rote and at least let me channel that scream into a cry for help.

No, I don't pray often. That doesn't mean we don't talk frequently.