Category Archives: Prayers

Lord, What Shirt Should I Wear Today?

You might think I’m being humorous, but I really do ask that question. I know it’s not a big deal, but it’s an easy question to ask. I’ll tell you why it’s so easy, I get dressed right after my morning prayer.

Yup, I don’t even get out of bed, I just wake up and start talking. God must think I’m worse then a pack of thirteen year old girls with how much I blabber. I don’t really have anything formal, I just decided a long time ago that the first person I should address each morning should be God, and so I’ve made a habit of it. At first it did not come easy though, it was a serious struggle. You see, there is a fundamental problem we face when we begin to learn to pray.

To really begin praying, you have to pretend like you are praying.

I swear, I’m not making this up, I’m just telling you how it worked for me. At first, you really don’t know what praying is, and you just feel silly. I felt like I was just talking to myself, like one of those nuts who walks around the grocery store with their Bluetooth in. I tried reading the bible, but in honesty, I got bored. I tried reading rote morning prayers, but that was no better. You see, I just didn’t feel like anything was really going on. I remember being asked when I first came into the Church by a buddy of mine,

“What does it feel like to pray? Do you hear God or anything?”

To which I replied, “Well, as best I can tell so far, I just sit there feeling like an idiot.”

You see, I was trying so dang hard to talk to this God I didn’t really know, but He just wouldn’t talk back. I might as well have been talking to a wall. All the fancy words in the bible and in these rote prayers just made it harder for me because I was so distracted by the readings themselves. I just didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere. I still feel this way at times.

It was Brother Lawrence that fixed me up. If you have never read “The Practice of the Presence of God”, I totally recommend that you do. It is so short that you could read the whole thing while waiting for the doctor to call you at your next visit, by which I mean about an hour and a half.

Brother Lawrence taught me to pretend. He taught me to just chat with God as if He were there, paying attention to every moment in my life. At first, I still felt silly, but at least I wasn’t distracted. I could just focus on the pretending, and that was enough to do the trick.

This is why kids are awesome at praying. They don’t really try to over think it, they just go for it and see what happens. They are great at pretending, and therefore learn to pray super easy.

Now I won’t lie, I have never been able to keep this up for more than fifteen minutes without losing my train of thought, but it broke the barrier for me. After a while, I really began to know that there was something going on that was more than I was putting in. I can’t really quantify it in any way, but in the pretending, I learned some shadow of the real thing, and it has made all the difference.

Here is the kicker. At some point, I really knew this presence was, well, present. I learned what it felt like, and then I was able to access that feeling during other prayers, even those really complicated ones like bible reading. Whenever I start getting lost, I just pause, and focus on that presence that is always there. He still doesn’t chat back with me, but instead of the echo I used to get from the wall, I hear silence. I can’t really explain it, but it is very different then what I heard and felt before. It’s bigger, stronger, and quieter.

If you have ever had trouble with prayer, and I think we all have, I really recommend you look into this. I’m not really all that smart a guy, so I really like simple ideas and short words. Brother Lawrence is my man. And guess what! You can have it FREE! Click here, pick your format, and read it now or print it out later for while you are waiting for the kids to get out of baseball practice.

So yes, every morning I discuss my wardrobe for the day with the Lord. I’m there, I’m paying attention, and thank goodness he has never picked out that pink sweater my grandmother bought me that I should just throw away. Well, he never actually seems to have an opinion, but I suspect that’s because I have such great taste.

Church Bells

I live about 5 blocks from my parish church. This has always been nice, as I’m able to walk to Mass most days. That is, when it’s not raining like crazy, which here is most of the time. There is something so very organic able walking to Mass, it just feels so very natural.

The daily Mass I attend is at 12:15, a perfect time for my schedule, so we usually get out of the door at about noon. one thing I just love about this walk is hearing the noon Angelus ring, bright and clear, as if calling me to Mass.

It reminds me of a short time I stayed in Germany, in a very small town. The church there was massive for such a small town, and the bells would ring on the hour, reverberating through the town, keeping the whole community in beat. It was so very calming, pastoral, and the bells still deeply move me.

The sad thing is, we can’t usually hear the bells over the repressing din on modern day life. Between the traffic, the sirens, the tv advertisements and our iPods, we have all but drowned out the bells. I wonder what else we have drowned out. Have the rhythms that have replaced their slow methodical beat brought us more happiness and joy? I don’t really know, but I do think we have lost something.

I wanted to share this painting. It shows a couple, working their land in brief prayer. Why do you think they suddenly decided to stop what they were doing and spend a moment with God almighty? Well, if you look deep in the background, you will see a church. To make a long story short, they just heard the bells. It’s time to pray that age old prayer, the Angelus. It traditionally is prayed at noon, and at 6:00 in the evening.

The Angelus

V. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived by the power of Holy Spirit.


Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.


V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to your Word.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.


V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.


V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


Let us pray: 

Pour forth, we beseech thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His resurrection; through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

If you feel inclined, I would highly recommend you add this most beautiful prayer to your daily life. As you do, feel your prayer linking with your brothers and sisters through the centuries, united by the sound of the bells.