This consists of three brief acts:
- faith in the presence of God and consent to his presence and action
- Acknowledgement of sinfulness, and repentance
- prayer for light and help
- My God, I believe that you are here with me and I adore you
- Lord, by my sins I deserve to be in hell. I am truly sorry for having sinned against you.
- My God, for the sake of Jesus and Mary, give me light during this prayer and transform me
Ask for the intercession of Mary,St Joseph, and other saints as you feel the need.
One simple but effective way is to try using a book, at least to start with, especially the gospels. Read only till you feel yourself touched. Stay with the thought as long as seems appropriate, then begin reading again.
During your meditation phase, there will be opportunities to…
- make acts of praise, adoration, love, thanks, sorrow.
- pray. That is, to converse with the Lord, including asking for your needs and the needs of others
- make resolutions…about changing your life, praying more consistently etc
After meditating or thinking on some eternal truths, speak to God about it. For example, if you were to read the Scriptures and stopped at John 14:6 “Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one goes to the Father except through me”, you might pause to consider what those phrases mean. What was Jesus trying to communicate? How does it apply to me? And so on. Then turn the phrase into a conversation…”Jesus, you identified yourself as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I can see that you are the way to the Father and that’s why I want to discuss these issues with you. I remember from my catechism lessons that I was created to know, love, and serve God. Without you, I clearly can’t do that. So I ask you to show me the Father, to bring me to understand the Truth about who He is…who you are…and who I am. And I certainly hope you will bring me to possess the life you want me to have. I absolutely consent to your presence and action in my life…” etc
If your prayer just seems to dry up and distractions keep pressing in, it’s often enough to simply repeat, “My God help me;” or “Lord have mercy”; or you might like to use the famous Jesus Prayer; Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.” Or perhaps simply repeat the holy name of Jesus. Or use the phrase from Revelation 22:20…“Come Lord Jesus!”
Often a favourite psalm will prompt your prayer: O God, you are my God, for you I long. For you my soul is thirsting. (cf psalm 62)
It would be a bit rude to just pack up and leave without at least a brief ‘thank you’ to God. Thank Him for his invitation to be with him. Thank him for his inspiration…for graces received…for the call to holiness.
As well, it can be very effective to do a brief evaluation of the prayer period and set a goal of taking action to improve.
We all have many people to pray for. Here might be an opportunity to pray for the souls in Purgatory, for sinners, for the Church, for the Holy Father, for family and friends.
Finish by praying the communal prayer that Jesus recommended…the Our Father. It expresses so well what our purpose is; to contribute to the coming of God’s Kingdom and the accomplishment of God’s will.
Finally, try to select some short thought or phrase that struck you during your reading or meditation and take it with you as a kind of ‘all-day-sucker’ to chew over and savour throughout the day.
[Reference: Ulanov, Barry (Ed) - The Way of St Alphonsus Liguori: The Basic writings, Burnes & Oates, London, 1960 (cf p209 ff)]