By CHRISTINE GRYCZAN, GB Youth Board | Published January 22, 2004
New Year’s is about making resolutions and actually trying to keep them. My resolution is to pray more with the people I love.
People may ask me, “Why should you pray more? Don’t you do enough of it in church?” The answer is “does anyone really pray enough?”
Yes, I may be only a teenager who is still in high school, but I’m also a devout Catholic. Having a strong prayer life is something that is important to me.
Praying can be hard for teenagers sometimes. I know that when I’m praying, I worry about it not being long enough or even sounding “adult” enough.
Many teens love to listen to music and will constantly find the kind they like. For me, listening to praise and worship music can be helpful in my prayer life and makes me think about the things I’m praying about a little harder.
Some teens think just listening to music, along with going to church every Sunday is enough. Some teens feel that praying alone can sometimes feel not as rewarding. Maybe it doesn’t feel like God may hear you completely, or it may seem that you aren’t doing it right. Many teens pray with a group of friends at a church social function, such as Life Teen or XLT, and the prayer can be more powerful. Some don’t realize how powerful praying with your friends can truly be.
God listens to all prayers. To be able to sit down with a friend and pray about something or someone can make the prayer seem stronger and more important. For some people, it takes a lot of courage to go up to someone and say, “Will you pray with me?” Some friends may think you’re weird to ask them to pray, especially if they aren’t Catholic. Even in a dating relationship, the other may feel weird praying with his or her girlfriend or boyfriend. But during the time of prayer, when you feel closest to God, it’s a great feeling to know that someone you trust most is next to you doing the same thing.
My best friend, Chrissy, and I pray a lot during the time we spend together. We’ve known each other for a while but weren’t close friends until the summer of 2003. As our friendship grew stronger, so did our prayer life. We spent a lot of time at church and church functions, as we are both members of our church’s Life Teen program. She took part in the Life Teen band, and I usher the Life Teen Mass weekly. We spent a lot of our summer time together, and a lot of it was listening to praise and worship music, which is another way in which we prayed. Listening to the sounds of musicians such as Michael W. Smith, Matt Maher, and Third Day for prayers is extremely uplifting to our prayer life.
We’ve prayed rosaries together, which to be honest, are extremely hard for me to do. I’m human, and I was nervous that I would say something wrong, like mixing up the Apostles’ Creed or saying too many Hail Marys. I still get nervous praying, even during Mass, because I’m afraid to say an important prayer wrong. Even if I do mess up, I know that Chrissy won’t ever judge me. She makes mistakes too. Everyone does.
Praying alone can sometimes be intimidating and scary. Having the comfort of someone next you can make it seem a little easier. While it does feel good to pray with an adult or even a cool priest, there is a comfort of having someone next to you, praying along with you, who may even have the same questions you do about faith in life. When you pray with a fellow teen, they sometimes understand things on your prayer level rather than the people who have had a stronger prayer life for a longer period of time.
I know my resolution will be hard to keep, but I know I can do it with the support of my friends and family. I hope other teens follow in my decision for prayer because with prayer our world can be a much happier and peaceful place.
We, the teenagers, are the future of this world. If we pray about things, the future can be a much brighter place for our children and everything else God decides to create.
Christine Gryczan is a sophomore at Roswell High School and a parishioner at St. Andrew Church, Roswell.