Friday at Five–Prayer

ImageThe Rev. Gals posed questions about our prayer life this week.  Jan attended a conference entitled “Turning Into Mystics” and came away with these questions for us.

1. How do you pray?
It depends on the day, the moment, and the situation.  My ritual in the morning is to rise, sit in my wonderful chair facing south, light a candle, pray through journaling, and then sit in the in the silence.  First seek a calm breath, setting my intention for this time, and noticing what people or situations bubble to the surface.  I literally visualize whomever or whatever bubbles up to be surrounded in God’s healing light.  At that point, I nestle in and “get real.”  Some days I feel dry and empty, and it feels like going through the motions.  Other days I simply don’t like what feelings I meet in myself or what I sense from God.  And others it feels like this praying thing is the best thing ever.

Throughout the day, I pray.  When I find myself losing myself, I try to stop and breathe.

When I get irritated driving–if I notice, I pause and pray.Image

I’ve come to think that even the random thoughts that go through my head are prayer when I take the time to tend to them.

2. How has your idea of prayer changed over time?
I would say the biggest change in my idea of prayer has been the shift from prayer being this perfectly constructed string of words to God into a way of being in relationship with God.  For me prayer has changed from being tidy and polished to messy and real.

3. Do you ever sit in silent prayer? How does it go?
Regularly–and it depends.  Some days, my mind leaves the station like a train and it seems like I leave any connection to the Holy on the platform.  Other days it feels like communion.  Most days it’s a mixture between these two.

4. Do you have any difficulties and/or pleasures in prayer?
–see above:-)
5. What is the best advice that helped you with prayer?

Hmm…prayer is too important to take so seriously…

Just try showing up…

“I don’t know exactly what prayer is.  I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,which is what I have been doing all day.”–Mary Oliver

Bonus: Share something about prayer or an example of a prayer you like.

I’m a big fan of the serenity prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

the courage to change the things that I can;

and the wisdom to know the difference.

I also savor Jan Richardson’s prayers and poems and Mary Oliver’s poetry.  When it comes to prayer life specifically, Mary Oliver helps me be really real:

The Summer Day

by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

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2 thoughts on “Friday at Five–Prayer

  1. Breathing slowly helps in busy traffic. Also, a prayer that helps me there and with irritating people is “Bless _____________, change me.” That salvaged my daughter’s teenage years for me. (I blog at Yearning for God)

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