Monday 21 June 2021

The Handy Little Guide to Prayer - Barb Szyszkiewicz

The Handy Little Guide to Prayer
ISBN 9781681926940

First, I want to state that this is a wonderful little book or booklet. It was a great little read, and one that could read repeatedly, and with new benefits each time. Second, I really wish this book and the others in the ‘Handy Little’ series were available as eBooks. After reading this one I want to read the others but almost never pick up physical books anymore. The chapters in this booklet are:

Introduction: Why Pray? 
Who Should Pray? 
What Is Prayer? 
How Do I Pray? 
How Do I Pray on My Own? 
What Do the Scriptures and the Saints Tell Us about Prayer? 
When Should I Pray? 
Where Should I Pray? 
What If … ? 
Final Thoughts 

The book begins with these words:

“God knows what’s in our minds and on our hearts, as we learn in Psalm 44:21, but we have a very human need to verbalize that. Sharing our hearts and our feelings with others we trust deepens our relationship with them. Similarly, when we’re angry, happy, confused, sad, grateful, hurt, or worried, expressing our needs and emotions to God bonds us to him more closely.”

And from there the book goes on to outline several ways and methods of doing just that. I highlighted several passages during my first read through of this booklet. Some of them are:

“As we explore the who, what, where, when, how, and what ifs of praying, my
prayer for you is that the connection you are working to build with God will be strong and deep. May you be as open to what he has to say to you as he is to hearing what you express to him.”

“In our private supplication and intercessory prayer, we can also ask the angels and saints to bring our prayers before God. We can use our own words, formal prayers of the Church, or a combination. Just as we ask our family and friends to pray for us in times of crisis or trouble, we can and should enlist the aid of those in heaven who are already close to God.”

“The Church offers quite a few formal methods of prayer: these follow a particular format and structure. Informal methods of prayer are also encouraged as private prayer methods. Of all the methods of prayer, though, only one is required by the Church: participation in the Mass.”

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that the Mass is “a participation in Christ’s own prayer addressed to the Father in the Holy Spirit. In the liturgy, all Christian prayer finds its source and goal” (1073). Participation in Mass is not optional; Mass is not a private devotion but a community prayer, in which all who are assembled are united in praise and thanksgiving to God. While we are encouraged to pray privately before and after Mass, during the liturgy our role is to participate by listening to the readings and homily, proclaiming (or singing, when this is the custom) the responses, and joining our hearts to the intentions of the Church and all assembled for prayer at that time.”

The above two quotes about the mass are very important for us as Catholics, Specifically as Catholics today. And Catholics living in a Pandemic or post pandemic world. It is important to remember that:

“You will always get an answer. It will not always be the answer you want, but God knows what you need.”

Barb reminds us that:

“During the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, churches canceled public Masses in favor of livestreamed liturgy, and adoration chapels closed. In many locations around the world, church buildings closed to the public entirely for several weeks.”

Barb concludes the book with this section:

Final Thoughts:

Saint Josemaría Escrivá wrote: “To pray is to talk with God. But about what? … About him, and yourself: joys, sorrows, successes and failures, great ambitions, daily worries — even your weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions — and love and reparation. In short, to get to know him and
to get to know yourself.”

Prayer doesn’t have to be complicated. Ask, seek, and knock. Give glory to God and share what’s in your heart.”

This little booklet is of great value. I truly believe that no matter how good your prayer life is, while here on earth it can always use improvement. This volume coves a lot of topics and styles of prayers devotional practices. It can serve as an excellent reminder. Or as a starting place. I believe anyone who picks up this book and reads it will be blessed by the time and effort. A great booklet in what looks to be a wonderful series. And as stated previously, I just wish there were eBook editions. You could have them all with you all the time. For as Mike Aquilina stated, "Now we can travel with more books stored in our telephones than the ancient Egyptians kept in their vast library at Alexandria.", but only if they are available. I strongly encourage you to give this a read.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan

Books in the Handy Little Series from OSV:
The Handy Little Guide to Adoration - Michelle Jones Schroeder
The Handy Little Guide to Confession - Michelle Jones Schroeder
The Handy Little Guide to the Holy Spirit - Michelle Schroeder
The Handy Little Guide to the Lent - Michelle Schroeder

Books by Barb Szyszkiewicz:

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