There are as many ways to pray as there are people in the world – if not more! This is not a list of the “right” ways to pray. This is a “jumping off point” for your own exploration.
In worship on July 8 the sermon focused on the Lord’s Prayer as one way to pray. Keep it simple today: say the Lord’s Prayer. Try saying it two or three times, focusing on different words or phrases each time. One of the times, consider saying different words than what you’re used to. This New Zealand translation is a good option:
Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and testing, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and for ever. Amen.
Take out a blank piece of paper and write down some of the things happening this week. What are you excited about? What are you anxious about? Look at the list and think about what you need from God for the week to go well. Write those things down. Then say a simple prayer asking God for those things.
Do you have a favorite poem? Read it to yourself, or with somebody else. You can also try this poem from Mary Oliver, called “Thirst”:
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
Allow some moments of silence after reading. Get up and take a walk if you feel like it, or tell someone you love them.
Have you ever tried something called “praying in color”? People of all ages who struggle with other prayer practices have found this concept – developed by Sybil MacBeth – to help them calm down and connect with God.
Some resources to get started are linked here below. More information and other resources are available at prayingincolor.com.
Try “Flash Prayers” today. You can do this anytime you’re aroudn others, but it’s best in more stressful situations – when you’re waiting in traffic, stuck in a crowd, or simply at work. Imagine Jesus blessing each person that you see, offering them blessings and love. Ask God’s loving Spirit to surround each person that you see, one-at-a-time.
Prayer is about our own self and our own needs. But true prayer always opens our hearts to our neighbors and to the whole world. Today, offer prayers for justice and peace. You can offer prayers in our own words, or click here to use some of the prayers in a wonderful collection developed by the United Church of Christ.
As you pray, ask God what other action you are called to take to make the world a more just and peaceful place. If you get a response, take it seriously. If not, that’s fine – the most important thing is to keep asking over time.
Try “lectio divina” today – it means “divine reading.” It is a way of reading the scriptures that puts ourselves in the reading, instead of thinking about it.
If you found praying in color meaningful, there is a version of lectio based on that. Click here for a guide.