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Living a Legacy: A Reflection & Prayer

Updated on June 19, 2017

It’s been a long time. Writing takes discipline. So does any art or skill, especially if done well. And prayer takes discipline, at least to do it every day…in the ‘traditional’ sense. Well maybe, maybe not.

Growing up a Roman Catholic Christian, daily prayers were habit forming: prayers or ‘saying grace’ before meals, prayers before bedtime, and saying prayers at church. Habit forming. Dry, everyday prayers, that might have some conscious meaning, but often were just that: a habit. Of course, there are those occasions and prayers, when the meaning is heart felt, and prayer takes on a spiritual meaning. And that’s what prayer really is, or really should be – spiritual.

It was in middle school, when I learned that prayer, if said coming from the heart -- written, well known, or made up myself, had special meaning. It was more than just some words, said out of obligation or habit. It meant something: to me, and to God.

Learning what prayer is, or at least what it can be, further sparked my interest on the different kinds of prayer:

1) Blessing and Adoration of God

2) Petition (asking something for ourselves)

3) Intercession (for others’ needs)

4) Thanksgiving

5) Praise

These are the basic 5 that I remember, and know that there are other kinds. Of course, depending on someone’s religious education and traditions, they may describe more kinds of prayer, or use different language and references to describe. And this is a point to make about prayer. There is no one ‘true’ way to pray.

Prayer is not just a set of rules and regulations of a particular faith (religion). It should also be an experiential.

With attending the St. Ignatius Retreats in high school , and again in college, those days and periods of silence took discipline. But the silence, the journaling, the meditating, the walks in the woods, the discussions with others, reading Scriptures and daily worship, helped make prayer more personal. They helped make prayer spiritual.

I learned that prayer is experiential. Finding God and meaning in daily activities, and paying attention to little ‘messages’ and ‘coincidences’, that might be messages from God, or God’s Helpers.

With so much attention to career, and life happening, it’s easy to lose that spiritual connection. Prayer becomes more of a habit forming thing that’s done as a formality.

But with the recent deaths of both of my parents within the past several months, I am reminded of what my spirituality was, and the power that prayer can have. I’ve lost that discipline of experiential prayer. It has been years since I’ve gone on a retreat. Whether it’s a mid-age thing, or whatever, it’s just time.

This is the first of a series of articles reflecting and hi-lighting a re-exploration into spirituality. I have an opportunity to experience a spiritual retreat, while also exploring cultural roots and ancestry. I’m looking forward to the experience. Always grateful.

Shabazz Wilson


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