“Lord, teach us to pray!” was the request of the disciples, and it’s true that we’re all searching for a prayer life that will keep us centered on God, even when we’re not actually on our knees. Last week and this week we’re looking at some things you can do to enrich your prayer life and bring yourself into a space that’s mindful and meaningful. This week it’s three things you can do to enter fully into prayer:
- Prayer isn’t just about words: God enters through all our senses. So try gazing as a form of prayer. Find an icon; you might like an icon of Mary or a moment in Jesus’ life or a saint. Icons are sometimes understood as windows to heaven, and they point us to God. A visually-focused prayer can be helpful to many people.
- Pray the psalms. Though the psalter was meant as a kind of hymnal for God’s people, the psalms also work beautifully as prayer, and have been part of both private prayers and the Church’s liturgies for centuries. A bonus is that you can find psalms that can express all sorts of feelings—gratitude, love, loneliness, anger, anxiety… it’s all there.
- Sometimes it’s about establishing a small habit. Say grace with every meal, every time. This is a great way for families to pray together; everyone can memorize a simple grace and say it together. When you’re eating alone or in public, you might say a silent prayer and bless yourself. It’s not hard to make a habit of giving thanks to God for all our blessings as we prepare to eat.
Sometimes we can feel that our prayer life is arid and joyless. At times like that, it can be helpful to try something a little different—like gazing on an icon—or go back to something we may have neglected, like asking for God’s blessing at meals. Whatever you do, know the Daughters of St. Paul are keeping you in their prayers!