1) What is Prayer to you?
Though many people initially relate to prayer as a conversation with God, at it's very root, prayer is a relationship with God. As humans we see how it is possible that we engage with people at various different levels and in different ways, our experience of relating with God is the same.
At times we I engage in relationships at superficial levels out of a sense of routine obligation - like a simple discussion with my wife of things we need to do today. There are other times when I'm very intimately engaged and find myself lost in another - like taking a walk in the woods or on the beach at sunset with my wife or simply watching a good movie together. This is the experience of being with one another deeply. Then there are the times somewhere in between. There is not difference in the way we relate to God.
Just like in human relationships, it is the disposition of my heart which takes me to those moments of greater intimacy, when my heart is not fully there, then I am simply present at only a surface level distracted with other thoughts or wishing I was elsewhere. However, the difference in Prayer is that though I open to it with the love in and intention of my heart, God responds with the ever-present grace that makes prayer possible.
2) What comes out of Prayer for you?
A gradual comfort and openness to God is something folks experience deeply in prayer. A deep sense of peace and communion occurs when we take time to stop our activity and become present to our relationship with God.
For me, the more time I spend in prayer the more I an aware of God's presence and the more time that awareness carries over into times of my life when I'm not conscious of being in prayer. It opens me up to be present to the moment and becoming more often aware of God's presence there.
3) Are there times that are easier or harder to pray and what makes it so?
People find prayer most difficult in those times when they need prayer most; when preoccupied with the events of life or when dealing with difficult people and situations. When in the midst of these difficulties, I notice my lack of praying make me more caught up and distracted. When I consciously set aside time for prayer without feeling like I'm missing out on anything, I am apt to open more deeply to it an experience it more fully. When I can pray for those difficult people in my life, I find that God gives me the grace of understanding them and the compassion needed to be loving and caring for them in the situation we're in.
4) How do you share in prayer with others?
The Liturgy is a great way to share prayer as is praying in small groups. Saying grace before meals as a simple communal reminder sets the tone for engaging in a meal together. Praying together as a family for each other and for the needs of others deeply enriches the prayer life of those involved.
I find that praying both intentions for others in their difficulties and in thanksgiving for their joys allows me to bring God into the lives of those I both care about and even for those I barely know. I find this practice done on a daily basis increases my capacity to be connected with them through God. Sharing intentions publicly or in common unites me with others as a community of caring bring both the other in God into our midst.
5) St Paul (in 1 Thessalonians 5) implores his community to "Pray without ceasing", how can we go about doing that?
Prayer can become a style of living in continual participation with God. When we are open and present to the moments of life, as best we can, with the intent to be with God, the Holy Spirit guides our actions. We become prayer in our activity, or more precisely, we become Christ seeking to find Christ in others and in everything around us and our actions reflect that.