People sometimes ask me how it is that I can pray in front of others off the top of my head. Catholics are stereotypically most comfortable with the prayers they memorized as children, right? I credit my ease in praying from the heart to my mother. My mom is a wonderful, faithful Christian women who modeled prayer for us from a very young age. She taught us to bow our heads and to close our eyes and to speak to God as we would speak to a father – He is our Father!
I still close my eyes when I pray today. When my students ask me about this practice, I tell them the truth. I’m a “nosey rosy” – easily distracted – always having to see who’s entering the room and what he/she is wearing. Closing my eyes fixes that problem and helps me to focus. Bowing the head is posture of reverence.
A couple of years ago, in a religion class that I was taking, I learned a formula for prayer to help people who are uncomfortable with speaking freely to God. It’s called the ACTS prayer. The A stands for adoration, the C for contrition, the T for thanksgiving and the S for supplication. If you ever feel at a loss for words when talking to God, try it. It’s simple. Here’s an example:
A Almighty God, I praise Your Holy Name. C Lord, I ask your forgiveness for the times that I have let You down, specifically… Have mercy on me. T Thank You for all of the blessings that You have given to me, especially…S Please continue to provide for my needs and keep me always close to You. Amen.