This month, the Catholic Writers Guild is touring Barb Szyszkiewicz’s book, The Handy Little Guide to Prayer. In this easy-to-read, down-to-earth introduction to conversation with God, you’ll discover, or rediscover, what you need to be able to “pray without ceasing.”
Summary of The Handy Little Guide to Prayer
God knows what’s on our minds and in our hearts, but we still need to verbalize our innermost thoughts, feelings, and intentions. That’s prayer. In this easy-to-read, down-to-earth introduction to conversation with God, you’ll discover, or rediscover, what you need to be able to “pray without ceasing.” Author, mom, wife, and Secular Franciscan Barb Szyszkiewicz helps you strengthen your connection to God through prayer. You’ll learn:
- How to pray alone and establish an intimate connection with God
- How to pray with the whole Church
- What the saints teach us about prayer
- When to pray, including formal and informal times for prayer
- Different styles and methods of prayer, including the prayers of the Church, adoration, meditation, music, art, and journaling
Your connection to God in prayer can happen anywhere, at any time. No special equipment is needed, and no dress code, no reservation, no admission fee. All you need is an open heart and a willingness to engage with our Creator.
The Handy Little Guide to Prayer has an Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat. It is part of Our Sunday Visitor’s series of books on various faith topics, including adoration, Lent, spiritual communion, and more.
Except from The Handy Little Guide to Prayer
What if I try a prayer method but it doesn’t “work” for me?There is only one prayer that Catholics are required to participate in: the Mass. You might not feel like you are getting anything out of it, but there is grace in the presence of the Sacrament and in your obedience to the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation. There are ways to improve your own prayer at Mass: Preparing ahead of time by reading and praying about the Scriptures for the day, and building in a little extra time so you’re not rushed as you arrive at church, will help you pray better at Mass. Bringing a prayer card to read after you receive Communion will focus your attention on the Sacrament.
Besides Mass, Catholics are called to pray, but the details are up to each individual. Priests, deacons, and religious are required to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, and in some cases the Rosary and other prayers are included in their spiritual discipline. But most Catholics are completely on their own when it comes to deciding how they will pray.
What works for you at one time in your life might not work at another. If your current state in life does not require a particular spiritual practice, and you find that it is not fruitful for you, try something different. Don’t stop completely; shift gears instead. Make a small change, such as adding music in the background or sitting in a different seat.
Or make a large change. Try a prayer practice for a period of time to see what works for you. A novena takes only nine days. In October, traditionally the month of the Rosary, pray the Rosary; during Lent, pray the Stations of the Cross; in Advent, light the candles of your Advent wreath and read through the book of the prophet Isaiah.
Find the way you like best to pray, and don’t be afraid to try something new.
More about Barb Szyszkiewicz
Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom of three young adults, and a Secular Franciscan. She is editor at CatholicMom.com and blogs at FranciscanMom.com. Barb is the author of The Handy Little Guide to Prayer and two prayer journals, all published by Our Sunday Visitor. She enjoys writing, cooking, and reading, and is a music minister at her parish.