WEEK FOUR: Prayer
DAY 3: In the Mood (Forms of Prayer, Part II)
During the “Big Band” era of the 1940s, bandleader Glenn Miller topped the charts with his #1 hit “In the Mood.” While appearing well before the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the title of the song is, of course, highly suggestive. In the mood for WHAT? Intimacy, of course. That should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the history of the song which went by the previous titles of Hot ‘n Anxious and Hot ‘n Bothered!
OK, this is a “family show” here, so why am I mentioning the above? Simply because our moods have a lot to do with intimacy and intimacy has everything to do with prayer. The wonderful thing about prayer, however, is that a single specific mood is not required to enter into an intimate moment with our Lord. The first indication of this can be found in the Psalms where every mood imaginable is expressed to God in prayer: joy, sorrow, confusion, hurt, shame, despair, gratitude, longing and so on. This pattern is communicated clearly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in which we are taught that our prayer typically takes one of the following forms:
- Adoration –acknowledging God’s greatness
- Petition – asking God to address our personal needs
- Intercession – praying on behalf of the needs of others
- Thanksgiving – thanking God for all good gifts
- Praise – joyfully acknowledging that God is God
Whatever our mood, we can “lift up our hearts” to the Lord. In ancient times, the heart was understood as much more than a muscle pumping blood and as much more than a metaphor for the focal point of human emotions. To the ancient mind, the heart was the seat of all knowledge and “to know” in biblical thinking, carries the connotation of “being joined with,” as a husband and wife are joined in sexual union. Second, the notion of “lifting” obviously implies that something needs to be raised or picked up from a lower level to a higher level. To lift up our hearts, then, is to raise our knowing from the level of self-centeredness to the level of God-centeredness. To lift up our hearts means to be joined with God – to be in communion with God.
And you don’t need to wait to be “in the mood.”
Reflection Questions: Choose one of the following questions and share your thoughts with your fellow retreatants by adding your comments in the comments box below this post.
- Which of the following Psalms speaks to your mood at this very moment?
- Psalm 33:1–22 (joy)
- Psalm 22:1–31 (abandonement)
- Psalm 55:1–23 (fear)
- Psalm 136:1–26 (thankfulness)
- Psalm 79:1–13 (anger)
- Psalm 62:1–12 (calm in the midst of anxiety)
- Psalm 88:1–18 (despair)
- Psalm 107:1–43 (overcoming disappointment)
- Psalm 42:1–11 (restlessness)
- Psalm 137:1–9 (outrage)
- Psalm 150:1–6 (praise)
Loving God, help me to recognize that I can come to you no matter what my mood. Help me to be honest in recognizing my own feelings and in sharing them with you so that I may grow closer to understanding your will for me. Help me to be confident in knowing that, whatever I am experiencing, you will help me to find the grace present there.
- Review Prayer by Keeping a Journal
- The Gratitude List
- Slumps and Winning Streaks
- A Short Course on Prayer
- Discernment of Spirits
CCC References: 2623-2649
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I hope you’re enjoying our online summer retreat, Preparing for a Year of Faith! Take a few minutes each day at your convenience to “gather” here on my blog as we seek to add some flavor to our faith lives by deepening our understanding of the truths of our faith as given to us in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.