Prayer has a long history. It has been there from the beginning of the human race. There is a truly spontaneous aspect to prayer. True prayer is both moral and religious. For many, prayer is the calm expression of gratitude to Almighty God. For some, prayer is to express gratitude to others, or to a group an expression of praise, social devotions, and yet, for some prayer is asking God for protection and guidance. True prayer is the sincere and trusting communication of the spiritual nature of the creature with the omnipresence of the spirit of the Creator.
Jesuit education believes that prayer makes us better human beings. It makes human beings ‘being human’. In fact, finding God in all things through prayerful reflections is a primary characteristic of Jesuit Education. We learn to find God in all things (the World is God’s Creation) “The world is charged with the grandeur of God” (G.M. Hopkins, SJ). Thus Jesuit education is conducted in a spirit of reverence and from a radically religious perspective: facilitating the discovery of and encounter with God is its core value.
For St. Ignatius of Loyola, “all the things in this world are gifts of God, created for us, to be the means by which we can come to know him better, love him more surely, and serve him more faithfully. He who carries God in his heart bears Heaven with him wherever he goes” says St. Ignatius of Loyola. For him in gratitude offering everything to the Creator is prayer. He prayed, “Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess You have given me. I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will. Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these, I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more”.
Prayer is loving God, being grateful to God, acknowledging God’s gifts and graces in our lives. The prayer “Falling in Love” illustrates it very well. This prayer has long been attributed to Pedro Arrupe SJ and it reflects well his way of praying. (This prayer originates from Fr Joseph P. Whelan SJ, former Provincial of Maryland, USA).
“Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything”.
Today young generations are perplexed by the thought of talking things over with God in a purely personal way. Many have abandoned regular praying; they only pray when under unusual pressure — in emergencies, when calamities and hardships are faced with, they tend to look at God! We should not be unafraid to converse with God, our spiritual nature is asking us to be connected to God always. Our genuine prayer adds to spiritual growth, modifies attitudes, and yields that satisfaction that comes from communion with divinity. It is a spontaneous outburst of God-consciousness.
Prayer cannot be reduced to be a spontaneous expression of God-consciousness or a meaningless recitation of theological formulas. It may be the ecstatic praise of a God-knowing soul.
To help students and educators to get a firm foundation as they learn how to grow in prayer and in faith with confidence, we are delighted to announce the launch of our New Global Inter-Religious Prayers and Reflections page, where teachers from our global community can find various prayers for diverse occasions. The prayers and reflections can be filtered by different languages, by school level and by country. In our Jesuit Global Network of Schools we have students and educators from many religious backgrounds. We live in a diverse world, in which we all come to faith from different places and from different backgrounds. Through this new Prayers and Reflections area, on our global community of Educate Magis, we hope to make available this enriching intercultural and interreligious dimension. We invite you to explore the prayers and reflections that have been shared so far by Jesuit schools from many different regions around the word!
Prayer is one of the Spiritual disciplines we all have to learn, and often we ask ourselves: How do you say a prayer? What is a personal prayer? How can I grow my prayer life? We hope that the New Global Inter-Religious Prayers and Reflections page will help you to Grow in your Prayer Life. You can talk to God like you talk to your best friend. Relate with God, speak to him as you speak to your best friend. Spend some time in silence, in personal prayer, in examen. Set a time for prayer to create a prayer lifestyle! Going deeper in prayer, becoming more consistent in prayer happens over time and with help.
Complement you prayer experience with our reflections on paintings for faith formation, reflections on faith, and retreats and recollections. All these will help you to have an affective experience which could be a transformative experience for you and all around you. We welcome all our Ignatian educators, schools, students, alumni, and parents to enrich their spiritual experience.
Pope Francis exhorts us; “Dear friends, one of the most effective ways we have to help is that of prayer. Prayer unites us; it makes us brothers and sisters … and reminds us of a beautiful truth that we sometimes forget. In prayer, we all learn to say ‘Father’, ‘Dad’. We learn to see one another as brothers and sisters. In prayer, there are no rich and poor people, there are sons and daughters, sisters and brothers. In prayer, there is no first or second class, there is brotherhood. It is in prayer that our hearts find the strength not to be cold and insensitive in the face of injustice. In prayer, God keeps calling us, opening our hearts to charity.”