BE STILL: You don’t necessarily need words to pray. In Psalm 46 God tells his people who were busy trying to please him, “That’s enough! Now know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10 CEB). This can be hard at first because it is so unfamiliar. Set a timer for 3-5 minutes, or find some relaxing music or sounds that will mark the time. Then be quiet and rest in God’s presence.
PRAYER WALKING: “You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.” (John 3:8 MSG). Movement is important. Prayer walking can be a physical way to awaken our docile spiritual lives. Pay attention to everything that is happening in your life. As you walk through your daily existence, try to view circumstances, situations, and experiences through ‘spiritual eyes’. For instance, purposefully walk through each room of your house praying a prayer for God’s presence in your home. Take notice of the subtleties of each room. Note the particulars. Watch the movements of your family and friends. With each movement of their steps, ask that God will be an active part of their lives. Praying on the move can be an effective way of building prayer patterns that last. Fill your mind with the thoughts of God throughout your day. Join us on Sundays before or after worship to prayer walk the church building and the grounds or stop by sometime during the week.
BREATH PRAYER: Breath prayers are another way to become more aware of God’s presence. The Holy Spirit is as near as the air we breathe. A common way to practice breath prayer is silently repeating a single-line prayer with each breath. As you inhale address God with something like, “Jesus, Son of God.” Then, as you exhale, express a request to God such as, “be merciful to me, a sinner.” Other examples are, “Creator God, allow me to see your beauty around me,” “Holy Spirit, let me feel your joy,” “O Lord, show me your way,” and “Holy One, heal me.” Repeat the prayer with each breath for several minutes. Listen for God.
PRAYING SCRIPTURE: Another great source of prayer is the Bible. Praying the scriptures has a long tradition among the faithful. Prayerfully read a passage by stopping every line or so, and praying what comes to mind. This can stretch us to bring before God petitions we might not think of on our own. Praying the Psalms, for example, calls us to address every emotion. Praying Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) will lead us in prayer for the poor and oppressed. Many scriptures such as Jesus’ healings and parables, Paul’s letters, and others, may deeply speak to our needs, help us to praise, or remind us of a promise of God.
PRAYER JOURNALING: Learning to listen intently for God’s message to you in Scripture, story, the events of the day, and your times of silence and prayer will open your mind and heart to the best ways for you to access and receive the mentoring of God. One tool that can help you learn to listen with intent is note taking. Recording the urgings, cautions, and encouragements of the Holy Spirit, as well as the specific actions you are prompted to take. Write out your prayers noting specific petitions to God and answers from God that you receive. Over time, a prayer journal can help you to see how God is speaking and working in your life.
LECTIO DIVINA OR HOLY READING: Lectio Divina is the practice of reading a section of Scripture and then meditating and praying on it. This ancient prayer practice helps us to listen for and understand God’s revelation as it restores and renews our trust in and love for God. Choose a place and time that are quiet and uninterrupted. You will need at least 15 minutes to really get the most out of this practice. If you don’t know what Bible passage to read, choose a Psalm—a great one to start with is Psalm 23. Particularly the first few times through this process, choose a shorter passage, as it will be easier to focus on and draw a main idea from. Remind yourself that you are coming to God’s Word and that to engage the Bible is to engage God. Close your eyes before you start reading and pray for the Holy Spirit to quiet your mind and bless your time in Scripture. If you get distracted or tired, don’t worry or criticize yourself. Simply bring your mind back to the Bible passage, re-read it, and be grateful for God’s Word.
Step 1: Pray, “God, open my heart and mind to receive the message that you’ll have me learn today through your Holy Scripture.”
Step 2: Out loud, read Romans 8:18-28
Step 3: Allow words or phrases from the text to rise to the surface of you mind.
Step 4: Live with those words or phrases for the next few moments and throughout the day.
Step 5: As you crawl into bed, thank God for giving you a meditative thought to fill your day.