Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, January 13, 2019
Two Building Blocks of Prayer
I have found another book on prayer. In keeping with my ecumenical teaching and training, I’ve chosen a book by a Catholic priest, Father Timothy Gallagher, OMV. This book on prayer is subtitled “An Ignatian Guide to Praying with Scripture.”
I love Ignatian prayer. I love reading and pondering over Scripture. I am excited to begin reading this guide to prayer, using two of my familiar and favorite ways.
In the Introduction, Fr. Gallagher relates how he came to learn to pray. His first teacher was St. Francis de Sales. Through reading his Introduction to the Devout Life, and practicing the meditations outlined for beginners, Fr. Gallagher began learning the way of meditative prayer.
Next, Fr. Gallagher experienced the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and delved deeper into St. Ignatius’ counsels on prayer. Fr. Gallagher said, “When the retreat ended, I thought, ‘Someone has finally taught me to pray.’ … Ignatius’s clear and practical counsels opened for me, as for so many before me, a sure path of prayer.” 
In this slim guidebook to prayer, “Our focus will be the two basic Ignatian methods for prayer with Scripture: meditation, the reflective approach, and contemplation, the imaginative approach….Through different gateways, both lead to the heart.”  This book will assist me in striving to have a regular practice of prayer. Yet again.
I’ve spoken here about my ups and downs with a regular prayer practice, for decades. God and I have had many conversations about how I fail to pray regularly. At least in that I am consistent.
As I begin this new year in prayer, I will not use an unfamiliar way of praying, or a manner of prayer that is more challenging to me. No, I will fall back on two ways of praying that I really enjoy. Dear Lord, help me to be able to be more consistent in prayer to You. Thank You for Your patience and love extended to me, a fallible, imperfect, stumbling and stammering praying novice. For, that is exactly what I feel I am. Even though I have been praying for decades—more than forty years—I still feel woefully inadequate. I come to You with Fr. Gallagher’s book in hand, and allow this book to assist me to come before You in prayer, and in spirit and truth. It’s in Your dear name I pray, amen.
Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.
 Meditation and Contemplation: An Ignatian Guide to Praying with Scripture, Timothy M. Gallagher, OVM (United States of America: Crossroad Publishing, 2008), 10.