September 13, 2023 at 10:01 a.m.

Do I really pray as I should?

Can we better at our prayer? (Prohot by Patrick Fore on Upslash)
Can we better at our prayer? (Prohot by Patrick Fore on Upslash)

By Kim Klementowski | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

I am not musically inclined … not at all. I can’t sing, I can’t play an instrument and I can’t dance. I have no talent whatsoever when it comes to music. But I like music. In fact, I like many different kinds of music (rap, soft rock, country, jazz, hip-hop, pop and Christian). I find that in many ways, a song or a type of music can bring me great comfort.

For example, I do not like attending a Mass that does not have music. I feel that music is a critical part of the celebration (although it can be overdone too). I believe that music allows me to more fully participate in the Mass … I am part of the celebration and it makes Mass more meaningful for me.

I work in what is probably one of the most negative departments in my organization. My boss finds fault with everyone and everything and no matter what someone is doing, he thinks he can do it better and when anyone has an issue to discuss, he always makes it about him (you know the type). To combat this constant negativity, I have taken to wearing headphones and listening to “positive, encouraging K-LOVE” which is a Christian radio station. I find it to be very helpful and although it doesn’t change the negativity in my department, it does help me stay more positive so that I don’t fall into the negativity trap.

Every so often, you come across a song that really hits you. It just comes at the right moment in your life and it becomes so meaningful to you. Sometimes, it just lifts your mood and other times it gets you thinking. I have had that happen several times in my life.

One of my favorite songs is “Good Morning” by Mandisa. I sing it in the shower and it always starts my day on a positive note. In the wake of Father Jerry’s death, I discovered the song “Scars in Heaven” by Casting Crowns. It has helped me with several deaths (Father Jerry Gingras’, Father Jack Hunter’s and now Bishop Hubbard) including the death of my own father. Whenever I hear that song, I think of all the people I have lost and it makes me think about what I can do to make the time I spend with the loved ones I have left more meaningful. 

Recently, the song that has me really thinking about my prayer life is a song on the country charts by an artist named Jelly Roll. Like so many other people, Jelly Roll did not have an ideal childhood and got into trouble. He did some time in prison and (unlike many) turned his life around becoming a successful singer/songwriter who crosses many musical genres. His current hit “Need a Favor” really got me thinking about prayer and my prayer life.

When I first heard the song “Need a Favor,” I have to say, I found it a little offensive. But the more I heard it, the more I really listened to the words and it got me thinking and I realized, that’s me and I’d wager I’m not alone.

There are two lines in this song that really struck me. The first was “I only talk to God when I need a favor” and the other was “I only pray when I ain’t got a prayer.” These two lines really got me thinking. Do I only talk to God when I need something? Do I only pray as a last resort? Oh sure, when I get a request from the prayer chain or from a friend to pray … I take a few minutes and pray for the person in need but do I take time out of each day to just sit and be present with God? How often do I pray outside of Mass each week? How often do I give praise to God and thank Him for His presence in my life? Unfortunately, if I’m being honest, I am not praying nearly enough nor am I being thankful enough. 

As I continued to think about this, I was wondering why this might be. I think maybe it’s because I know that God’s love is unconditional. Although I try to stay on the right path, I know that if I stray, I can always come back to God’s love. 

I guess it’s kind of like being a mom. Most mothers love their children unconditionally.  As their children grow and make their own way, they see their mother less and less. They may contact her less or only see her on holidays. But they always know that she is there if they get into trouble or need some words of encouragement. They may not always treat her well, may become impatient with her or think she is out of touch with what’s going on in the world today but they always know that she is mom and that she will be there no matter how far they stray. 

This is true of God as well. We may get impatient that He is not answering our prayers or giving us what we want. We may get angry that bad things are happening to us. We may stop praying and stop going to Church because we are so angry at God. Sometimes we need to take a step back and say maybe He is answering our prayers only not in the way we expected. Sometimes we have to remember that God may hear us and answer our prayers in His time not our time. However, no matter how angry we get with God or how far we stray, we are always welcomed back with open arms whether we think we deserve it or not.

So as much as I hate to admit it, I do fall woefully short in my prayer life. I do not pray as much as I should and I don’t offer thanksgiving as much as I should. I know I can do better and will strive to do better in the future. So Jelly Roll’s words, “I only talk to God when I need a favor” and “I only pray when I ain’t got a prayer” were very powerful for me. I think there is a homily in there somewhere and I know that I can do better.

Kim Klementowski attends the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Glenville.


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