Hello lovely reader,
Being a person of faith and belief of God, prayer is an essential part of my day to day life. As I have grown closer to my faith and have met with many other catholics and christians, I have discovered that most of us believers fall short in the prayer department. Of course, we are all human! These things happen. Sometimes it’s hard to explain, but we feel separated from our faith and separated from God. Our hectic lives get in the way and before we know it another day has gone by and we haven’t communicated with the one who makes each day possible.
I’m ashamed to say there are many days that I wake up with the intention to pray and then get swept away by other activities. Or nights when I try to remind myself to pray before bed and then when my head hits the pillow, I feel too tired. Some days, I feel as though I cannot communicate at all, purely because I do not want to bring forth any unwanted emotions or feelings that have been created by the week’s trials and pains.
I, like you dear reader, am human. We all struggle with our faith and beliefs at certain times and our connection with God often suffers. But, there is something that we seem to forget….God FORGIVES! God is our father who wants a connection with us no matter how many times we run in the opposite direction. He always forgives us when we forget to talk to Him and He understands those deepest emotions that are bubbling inside us when we cannot create the right words or thoughts. He knows and He understands. For us women, He is the one man who will ALWAYS understand you! How amazing is that?
However, we must realize that prayer is not meant just for times of crisis. Prayer is something that we are called to do daily in order to grow our relationship with God and to give Him the thanks and praise He is due for His wondrous deeds. When I start and end the day in prayer, it feels as if my day goes by much smoother. It sounds silly, but everything truly seems brighter. I am able to notice the little things God orchestrates for us!
I have found that separating a short time out of each day to devote purely to prayer provides the most spiritual benefits. Setting a certain amount of time, whether 5 minutes or an hour, just to meditate on your thoughts and feelings and relay them to God through prayer, can make a huge difference in your day to day life and will certainly begin building the bridge to a fuller and more complete relationship with Him.
So, what is this daunting thing called meditative prayer? Really, it’s simple and easy. There are so many options out there for everyone. Here are some tips for getting started based on time and creativeness:
Only have a few minutes?
- Make a quick list and pray it. Use a bullet journal or a piece of paper (even a napkin or post-it will do) and write down 3 things you would like to thank God for and 3 things you would like to pray to Him for. Then compose a prayer around these listed items.
- Use a prayer book. Prayer books are a collection of already composed prayers that are usually separated by need. For example, my prayer book contains sections for morning prayer, midday prayers, prayers for sickness, health, pregnancy, etc. If your someone who would rather have a single prayer to use each day or if you are having trouble putting the words together, prayer books are a beneficial resource and can really help you begin quickly. There are so many prayer book options out there for all faiths and they even have ones for people of different genders and occupations. The photo above shows my personal prayer book that is targeted to Catholics. Stop by your local christian store or look online to find one that suits your needs.
- Use an app. There are hundreds of apps that are easily accessible on phones, tablet, and computers that can replace prayer books. I find apps to be incredibly useful because I can use them anywhere at anytime. Often times my hubby will read a prayer out loud from my phone while we are driving.
- My favorite catholic apps:
- Laudate & Magnificat
- My favorite catholic apps:
Have a little more time to meditate?
- Use an app with a meditative prayer outline. I know this tip was previously mentioned, however, some apps provide a longer prayer sequence that includes a hymn, reflection, bible verse, and a succession of various other prayers. These types of prayer outlines allow you to meditate on God’s word and your prayers towards him.
- Use a devotional. There are many devotional books and apps that give a 1 to 5 minute reflection on a bible verse. These reflections usually imply embracing a certain action, quality, or characteristic in your life. These are great to read and meditate on while praying, because they give you a chance to reflect on your own life and ask God for guidance or thank Him for certain works.
- Pray the Rosary. Though the Rosary is usually considered a Catholic prayer, anyone can partake in its benefits. There are booklets, apps, and web articles that give the outline for the prayer. It is extremely easy and repetitive in order to allow you the chance to meditate on a certain wish, need, want, or desire. As a Catholic, I find the Rosary to be extremely empowering and reverent. It gives me a chance to pray to my Father and the Holy Mother. The Rosary usually takes about 20-30 minutes, however, it is a great source of meditative prayer that I usually try to work into my schedule.
An Example of My Personal 15-20 Minute Sessions:
I usually set aside 15 – 20mins in the morning and in the evening for meditative prayer.
As I mentioned before, I am not perfect and I do not always pray as often as I should, however, I have made a point to make prayer an important part of my day.
- Sign of the cross. I start by completing the sign of the cross and saying a short prayer of blessing for the session. Usually the short prayer is:
“Lord, I ask you to bless this prayer session and to help me to open my mind and my heart to you.”
- Magnificat. Next, I open my magnificat app or book and complete the prayer for the morning, midday, or evening, depending on the time of day.
- I love the Magnificat because it provides a short hymn, a Psalm, a verse reading, a canticle, intercessions, an our father, and a closing prayer.
- One-minute Devotional. In the picture above you can see my One-Minute Devotional Book for Women. This book provides a verse and a reflection of the verse for each day. I read this and reflect briefly on its contents and then ask God to help me achieve such action in my own life.
- Read a passage of the Bible. If I have time or if I make time, I read a section of the Bible, usually only a few verses, and reflect on them in my Bible study journal.
- Closing Prayer. I usually use a blessing or guidance prayer from my prayer book to close the session.
- Sign of the cross. Lastly, I close the session with the sign of the cross.
Make it your own…
Prayer is something that is very personal and every individual puts their unique twist on the exercise. It’s important to just open up your mind and heart and to feel comfortable talking to God. As always, my thoughts and reflections through this article are completely my own and everyone is different. Please do not embrace my example session for your own prayer session if you are not comfortable with it. Also, I intend all of my material to be open to people of all faiths, though I am Catholic, so feel free to customize certain parts to fit your own faith.
Question: What prayer methods work best for you? How do you fit prayer into your day to day life? Leave me a comment!
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