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prayer beads

A not fabulous photo of my prayer beads. Sorry! The camera is at the lake with the boys.

I loved Lori’s post, Proverbs and Peace, and planned to answer her question, “What are your favorite spiritual words of comfort?”, in my own post.  But it didn’t happen.

When I booted my computer to access this information, I got this message.  “Error 515: Power supply fan not found.” The machine is under warranty so we’re haggling with HP.

While I waited for HP to get it together, I called Customer Service for a yarn supplier to add another skein to my order since it was listed as “in process” and not “shipped.”  Unfortunately, in process can also mean packed.   No luck there.

When the boys left for their hunting trip, I set about fixing my dinner.  I always make stir fried broccoli when they’re gone because my husband can’t eat it.  Not surprisingly, given the rest of the day, I found some kind of caterpillar building condos in the broccoli.

There are times this would be the icing on an awful day.  Last night, I just laughed.

What made the difference?  This past week, I have made the time to pray each and every morning.  I’m not going to tell you that I pray for an hour or even 20 minutes.  The reality is probably a lot closer to 5 minutes.

But it is five minutes that I sit with my prayer beads.  I start with prayers of praise and recognition of God.  Then I move on to . . . whatever.  Some days I pray for various people I know who are sick or looking for work.  Some days I pray friends who are expecting their first child, or my son who is starting his second semester of high school, or my husband who has to deal with HP.

I don’t take long, but I focus, and I pray.  And I think it makes all the difference in the world in how I deal with life’s little bumps and detours.  IMO it helps because I’m taking time to connect with something bigger than myself.  I’m focusing on something other than myself.  I’m turning outward.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, try to pray quietly just a few minutes each day.  The more overwhelmed you feel, the harder it will be to focus.  That’s why I use prayer beads.  You can also walk a labyrinth or use a fingertip labyrinth.  If you find a way to pray, you’ll see a difference and you might even laugh at the worm in your broccoli.

–SueBE

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I  used to think that I didn’t have a prayer life to speak of.  Did it really count if my prayers were more like Tweets?

God, please help Earl get through his surgery ok.

Lord, keep those firemen safe as they rescue whoever.

Father, thank you for the beautiful river.

I wanted a “real” prayer life, so I carved out uninterrupted prayer time, fifteen to twenty minutes minimum.  I learned to lift up my heart and to listen.  Sometimes I walked the local labyrinth.  Other times I sat on my sofa with my prayer beads (apparently I need some kind of movement to focus).

The great thing about these longer prayer times is that I was able to listen.  And, when I listen, I get answers.

But one thing still bothered me.  When someone has a problem, I offer to pray for them.  So far so good.  But if I don’t have that uninterrupted time until two or three days later, sometimes I remember my prayer promise, but other times I don’t.

Unfortunately, the best way to solve this problem seems to be to pray now which takes me back to the short prayers.  Back to Tweeting God.  Possibly in public.

Sigh.

I hate praying out loud in front of other people.  I’d rather sing a solo in church.  And I mean when there are other people there.  If you think I really want to do that, please recall – to get me up in front of the church with the entire choir, the choir director had to promise me a personalized trash can, just in case.  I may not be a shrinking violet, but in some things I find comfort in anonymity.  Praying out loud with even an audience of one is not anonymous.

Still, I’m pretty sure this is the next step I need to take in terms of prayer and spiritual growth.  Why?  Because I brought it up at the labyrinth on Monday and this is what kept popping into my head.

What was that sound?  Just me heaving a huge martyr-like sigh.  Praying and listening has its downfalls – the answers are seldom easy and often make me squirm.  And, here is where our readers come in.

I would really appreciate it if you would all hold me up in your prayers.  Quick and short prayers.  Great big long prayers.  I’ll accept one and all.  Wherever you are in your prayer practice is fine as long as it works for you.  Me?  I just need a little help moving into someplace new.

–SueBE

This Prayer of Service is one of the Daily Prayers from the Book of Common Worship.

Teach us, good Lord,
to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost;
to fight and not to heed the wounds;
to toil and not to seek for rest;
to labor and not to ask for any reward,
save that of knowing that we do your will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

 

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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