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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Learn more about the Year of Faith. Watch a brief video explaining what this online retreat is all about.
The Psalm 107 :1-43 Overcoming diappointment. I have been praying for someone in my family who is in need. I have been praying for a very long time. Recently I found out that she is not getting the help that she so badly needs. I know that it is God’s will but I am so disappointed and upset. The words in this Psalm are exactly like I feel right now. It is comforting to read this Psalm especially one of the first few lines They were hungry and thirsty and had given up all hope. Then in their trouble they called to the Lord, and he saved them from their distress. Even though it is hard to believe sometimes when things are so bad I can find the words I need to help me in the Psalms.
◦Psalm 79:1–13 (anger)
◦Psalm 62:1–12 (calm in the midst of anxiety)
At this time these two psalms call out to me. I was very angry with myself for being careless and losing my glasses for the second time in one month; and it isn’t so much the expense of replacing them the has me upset but that I don’t value and take care of something that is vital to me. As I reflect and my co-workers help me search for them I am feeling more calm because I see their concern and they are upset for me. At this point I turn to them and tell them not to worry because this is a common occurence with me and I just need to be more careful. Their concern centers me and I no longer am upset and just chuck it down to being more diligent on my part.
The beginning of the school year always comes with a fair amount of anxiety, for students, parents, but especially teachers.
I just returned from my first day back to school to prepare my room for the coming year. Things are in an unusual state of chaos, due to some major changes taking place to the building. Anyone who was there today left with the same feeling: how will we get this together in less than two weeks? Certainly Psalm 62 addresses my feelings at the moment and reminds me what my focus should be. It is very comforting to be reminded that God is my strength and my salvation, and that I must trust in him at all times.
Psalm 136 best suits my feelings at the moment. I thank God every day for the many blessings in my life. My wonderful husband who supports and teaches me constantly, my three children . My daughter has just got married and I thank God for her happiness. Sometimes I hold my breath and wonder why my life is so good when so many suffer such great hardship in their lives. I am a convert to Catholicism as I was raised Anglican but I converted 25 years ago and am very happy in my faith, I have been a catechist for 16 years and also prepare adults for conversion into the catholic faith. Sometimes I find myself thirsting for God and want to know Him better and be closer to Him I feel lucky to be able to do this with my family.Thank you, thank you, thank you Lord.
Psalm 62:1–12 (calm in the midst of anxiety)
As I read through this day’s topic yesterday evening, my mood was extreme tiredness. I’m certain there’s a psalm related to that mood. I’ve been in a mood of anxiety lately, pondering ways to get out of debt. I’ve been considering taking a part time job, in addition to my current full time job. My calmness comes from knowing that God knows my needs and will provide and lead me to a solution. All my faith is with the Lord.
Alma, with regards to extreme tiredness, take a look at Psalm 38 and 88.
Psalm 107.1-43 – overcoming disappointment – My husband had been told he was to get a job at his former work site when it reopened, which would be closer to home, saving a lot on time and transportation fees. Unfortunately he did not get it. It meant a lot to us if he got the job, not only would it have been a financial savings but our family time would have increased. Psalm 136.1-26 – thankfulness – is what I feel as he does have a job that supports our family and I cherish the times we are together with our children.
I feel very thankful, filled with praise, and joyful at this time because I have just returned from a very special Bible study session at our Church. Our instructor, Kevin Saunders, has traveled extensively in and lived in the Israel and other countries in the Middle East. Because he knows so much about the culture, he is able to help us understand why Jesus said and did so many things the way He did them. Thank you, Joe, for sharing your time with us this summer! Bev
It’s been my pleasure, Bev!
Well Psalm 70 is certainly my mantra right now. I am a fairly new PCL and I always despise this time of year – looking for catechists. (This is only the 2nd year I do this.) Our classes are ready to start up next week and I still have 3 teacher slots to fill. Everyone I call is either too busy or has no interest or could never possibly work with children. Others who I would love to ask are not living according to the faith. We have an interesting program that many would be envious of. Our children are allowed to come to us an hour each week right from the public school. I have four locations that I travel to, with a total of 32 classes. We serve over 300 children from grades k to 6. Our priest has been away for almost 5 months now and we’ve just had substitutes in his place. With no direction from my boss, whom I adore so much, I am left to do a job that I am not quite ready to do independently. I am overwhelmed and I am still hearing my pastor’s voice in the back of my mind: “God will provide.” There’s so much more…but you guys don’t need all this! 🙂 Thus, I am 3 days behind on my retreat! haha! “Oh God, hasten to me! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, hold not back.”
Lisa, thanks so much for sharing and please do find strength and support in the catechetical community gathered here at Catechist’s Journey! Our prayers are with you!