Jan from RevGalBlogPals has this week’s prompt:
At the beginning of this past week, I attended a conference on contemplative prayer entitled “Turning to the Mystics” at the 2013 Summer Institute at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, TX. The speakers were James Finley, author and former novice of Thomas Merton; Mirabai Starr, author, translator, and speaker; and Father Ronald Rolheiser, author and president of OST. We were encouraged to regularly sit in quiet to come to realize our union with the Divine, who continually loves us into being.
So for this Friday Five, let us share about our prayer practices, whether silent or not:
1. How do you pray?
Usually by writing/journaling. Sometimes with my camera in my hand. Sometimes, it’s when I’m knitting or creating something. (If my hands are busy, my mind is quiet.)
2. How has your idea of prayer changed over time?
I used to keep prayer lists, the big extensive kind from church and Bible study… and those lists would never get prayed for. (oops) I would keep them up to date in a journal (if I remembered). But it seemed to induce guilt. Now I ask the Holy Spirit to bring things to mind, and as specific people and their needs are brought forward in my mind, I pray for them. Sometimes they will be brought to mind later, and I’ll pray again. I’ve really let go of being “in control” of tracking prayer requests. After a couple of experiences where God woke me up in the night to pray for someone specifically, I’ve learned that the Spirit is perfectly capable of getting my attention. Or, should I say, getting EVEN my attention. 🙂
3. Do you ever sit in silent prayer? How does it go?
I’ve tried various forms of contemplative prayer. Not so much. One that has helped me is using the podcasts from Pray-As-You-Go. I’m taking a break from those right now and using Gratefulness.org. I like their resources: a “mouse” labyrinth, prayers of the Hours, lighting a candle, etc. It’s a good re-boot for days which are full of stress. Unfortunately, I can’t access this site from my hospital’s computer (Why? “Social media” is the excuse…)
4. Do you have any difficulties and/or pleasures in prayer?
Remembering what it is I will pray for… so mostly if someone asks me to pray for something, I just do it right then. That way the need is covered, and I know that I have affirmed my concern and helped carry another’s burden. One of the pleasures is discovering how the Spirit brought someone to mind “just in time” for a specific need. I am very aware it’s not ME. It’s always God.
5. What is the best advice that helped you with prayer?
Remembering that it’s a conversation, not a task, a relationship not an obligation. And I don’t have to pretend that I do it perfectly, just that I do it. It’s amazing how people automatically think that clergy (chaplains included) are “professional prayers” when some of the best prayer warriors I’ve met are the honest, sincere pray-ers among my congregation. They inspire me.
Bonus: Share something about prayer or an example of a prayer you like.
I created a video using a prayer by Teresa of Avila… may it breathe peace into your heart.