In our personal prayer the challenge is to be real, truthful, heartfelt, unaffected. There is little point in dressing up before the one who knows us better than we could ever know ourselves. And when we pray regularly, at least God cant pretend he doesnt know us.
In personal prayer we approach the God of all mercies without make-up or disguise, without mask or pretence, hoping to find an expression for who we are and what were facing in life. Personal prayer is not performance; it is the language of real life.
In these prayers I have tried to find a voice for all sorts of people and situations, just as I have listened to the stories of all sorts of people in all sorts of situations. Ive chosen a selection of photographs to support the prayers. As you turn the pages the photographs might stir you to go in a totally different direction from mine, and make your own prayers in your own words. That, of course, would be great
Whatever happens, I hope this book will help you understand that you can pray no matter what condition youre in, no matter how you feel: we pray always, keeping in touch with our beloved God.
Denis McBride, an English Redemptorist priest, has lectured in New Testament Studies for many years at the Hawkstone Hall International Pastoral and Study Centre for priests and religious.
The idea of Praying with Pictures is one which could bring us into a whole new experience of prayer.
To look thoughtfully at the beautiful pictures in this book draws us in loving attentiveness to the Creator. The captions serve as pointers to the reality behind the photographs. Then the prayerful readings draw together the graces of this world and the promise of the next. Knitting together the beauty of our surroundings to which the eye is readily drawn with the heartfelt accompanying prayer constitutes a moment of grace. Do not miss it by the modern sin of overlooking the simple.
In the world of today, where the lurid, gross and vulgar are often loudly presented as the unmasking of truth and called reality, we are like the proverbial bull in the china shop missing the subtle beauty of the veil which enhances the mysterious.
Fr Denis McBride listens to those people and things the significance of which is too often missed. Clearly, in his ministry, he listens and cares for whatever people come into his orbit. He is quick to notice the areas of pain and pleasure - children, love, injustice, giftedness in all creation.
This is a book that enables us to see the value of taking time off from the muddle and mess of life and going to the hills and to the sea. Simply to contemplate what is delightful can bring us to new hope and serenity. It is Denis McBrides hope that from this book will fall the grace of our becoming, automatically, people of spontaneous prayer.
But it is not only the escape from the daily that is joy-bringing. The capacity to look at what is really happening in our own home, our own back yard and our own high street - the drooping body of the aged, the lithe movement of the adolescent, the reaching out of the imprisoned, the smile of the disadvantaged, these challenge us to open the eyes of our hearts and bring the varied commonplace situations to The Father.
Fr McBride encourages us to look more closely at ourselves - in Gods terms. We need to forgive ourselves for falling short of our ideals, doubting the whole point of prayer, and thinking that maybe God is as feeble as I am / powerless to change anything . . . Nowhere around.
Such feelings call out for the faith- filled Yes of Mary at the mysterious message of the angel at the Annunciation. We think ourselves unable to persevere in humble acknowledgement of our littleness and tiredness. Fr Kevin encourages us to pray Keep me, Lord, in conversation with You; otherwise I might lose the little of me that is left.
Here is a book that helps us to remain in that communication and encourages us with moments of glory.
- The Irish Catholic, 29th May 2010