There are generally three different types of prayer. The first form of prayer is typically called vocal prayer. These types of prayers include our general conversations with God and our rote prayers like the Our Father (aka Lord’s Prayer). To some extent, vocal prayer is the prayer for beginners. At the same time, it is the prayer of our entire life. It is in these prayers that we praise God, thank God, and ask God for the things we think we want or need.
As Christians continue in their faith walk, they are often called towards mental prayer. Mental prayer is different from vocal prayer in that it seeks deeper wisdom of God’s truth. Mental prayer includes some form of using one’s brain to ponder God’s revelation just as Mary often pondered “these things” in her heart. Lk 2:19. This form of prayer is more a dialogue with God than vocal prayer. It is in this place of mental prayer that we grow in wisdom. We grow more aware of God and his presence in our lives. We start understanding the world from God’s perspective in a more holistic way.
The third type of prayer is called contemplation. Some treat the term contemplation equally with meditation. However, I will distinguish it as a type of prayer where God monologues in us. Contemplation is not a place where we can choose to go. It is a place where God leads us as we progress in mental prayer.
Spend some time with the Holy Spirit today contemplating your prayer life. What forms of prayer do you use? Ask the Holy Spirit if he is calling you to a deeper form of prayer today? In future blogs, we will get into more details on the various forms of meditation that can be used to progress in mental prayer. In the meantime, spend some time today considering these three forms of prayer, and praying about where the Holy Spirit might be leading you.
Ms. Debra D. Weldon, O.P., JD, MTS