Beware the “Little” Prayer

Our student small group coordinator booked me for an in-service to the small group leaders this week. They have two meetings to catch our twenty-five leaders, and they wanted me to speak on prayer, especially on the skill of leading prayer.

I enjoy the topic. I also enjoy having the opportunity to organize my thoughts for college student leaders and the obstacles and opportunities of leading prayer for their peers.

The plan is to pray lectio divina because you can’t just learn by talking. You have to do it. Being a Christian, being a disciple is about so much more than the absorption of knowledge. Apprenticeship means practice.

One of the highlight comments was offered by my staff colleague Emily. She warned people from the temptation to treat prayer too casually, criticizing the frequent request:

Let’s start with a little prayer.

Yes! I was thinking to myself. One of my pet peeves: in addition to relegating prayer at meetings to the periphery, we attach a rather apologetic adjective, “little.” Prayer, Emily said, must be big. It must be really important to what we do.

What would happen, do you suppose, if we started a church meeting with something unexpected.

Let’s start with a big prayer. Let’s start with a prayer so big, so important, that it opens us up to being changed and converted by Jesus Christ himself. Let’s start with a prayer that will be a springboard into an experience so amazing, so full of grace, that the whole world will be transformed–and us with it.

Because, really: if we’re not aiming for that, what on earth are we doing?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Parish Life, spirituality and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Beware the “Little” Prayer

  1. Joyce Donahue says:


  2. John Donaghy says:

    Big, but not too long.

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