Reminding ourselves on the basics of prayer may be helpful.
We know prayer can be verbal or nonverbal: that is, we can pray out loud or pray silently within our innermost thoughts.
We pray in public, as we do at Mass, and we pray in private.
We pray giving praise, or we pray in thanksgiving, or in petition or in repentance.
We might be driven to prayer when we are sad or happy, when we are in trouble or afraid, or when we give praise and worship to the one who created us. The list could go on.
Of course, we should make prayer a daily habit, engaging in chat with God throughout the day. The Church looks at all prayer as being fundamental to our faith, but especially in the morning and evening as they act as hinges to the day.
Our morning prayer opens up our day—offering our labor and life to God, while our prayer before bed closes out our activities recalling the good we have done and asking for help to correct our failings in future days.
Although we are to let God know what is on our hearts and minds, we need not always try to control the conversation with God, but rather let Him speak to us by spending time just listening to Him.
Personal prayer anytime is a good thing. Yet private prayer does not take the place of attending Mass. Private prayer is personal and one-dimensional. When we are at Mass, we pray in union with other believers as part of a community.
The Mass gives us the opportunity to seek forgiveness for our sins, be inspired by the readings and the homily, offer ourselves to the Lord, reach out to others with the peace of Christ, forgive others during the Lord’s Prayer, receive the Body and Blood of Christ, and become empowered to carry the presence of Christ into the world.
In the words of St. Paul, “Pray without ceasing.” (10:16)