A Word in Season
A.S.K.: Ask, Seek, Knock -- Three Steps toward Praying with Others
My faith is personal. But I'm called to share it.
The Year of Faith that Pope Benedict called for beginning this October will have church folks scurrying to do special events in their parishes and dioceses for the sake of the New Evangelization. That's all well and good, but let us also remember, from an evangelization perspective, that faith is often caught, not taught; it is shared person-to-person and heart-to-heart, as well as in church settings.
Our personal witness to the faith is just as important as the global church's proclamation of it. Recent columns here have suggested how to share your faith by telling the Jesus Moment in your life, tithing on social media, and doing the holy work of intercession. Today, therefore, I'd like to strongly make this new suggestion as something doable within our own spheres of influence: pray with each other.
That may seem like a given.
When was the last time a Catholic friend asked you to pray with them on-the-spot? (If you answered in the affirmative, you are in a vital minority. Please pray for the rest of us.)
Sure, we're all about going to Mass together. It's the perfect prayer, after all. It is the prayer of the church, the local community, and where we join our personal prayers to the prayer of Jesus offered in the Eucharist. Yes, that truly is the most sublime way we pray with each other. Keep it up. Do that more. Invite a friend or neighbor to join you.
But that's not what I mean. For us lay people, I mean, praying with each other. Personally. Like, in a casual social settings outside of the Mass or in church. Praying with each other in places and in moments that are part of everyday life.
You want to love the ones you're with? Pray with them, not just for them.
Pray with them at home. Pray in a park. Pray at work. Pray in a car. Pray in a restaurant. Pray in the backyard. Pray at the beach. Pray on the phone, on Skype, or on Google +'s Hangout.
Pray with another person. Out loud. In tandem.
I'm suggesting a movement of prayer that begins with the people you know, with whom you may have already have a friendly relationship and a similar faith background.
Don't let it be a showy, preachy, holier-than thou, or hey-look-at-us kind of prayer. Just be yourself and be not afraid.
It's time we make "prayer together" an on-going occurrence rather than a rare one with our peers, families, and colleagues who might be open to it, and who really would welcome it, if you went first.
I've been doing the Among Women Podcast for over three years now. It is a show that features faith sharing, teaching, and conversation about the beauty of the Catholic faith from a woman's perspective. When I get the opportunity to meet listeners in person, I'm always amazed when they say this about the show: I like praying with you.
Pat Gohn is a Catholic writer, speaker, and the host of the Among Women Podcast and blog. Her book Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood is published by Ave Maria Press. Subscribe to “A Word in Season” via email or RSS.