A WORK IN PROGRESS
EASY TIPS FOR PERSONAL PRAYER - based on a post by Fr Ronald Rolheiser on "Franciscan Media", with additions from me. Whether you’re a beginner or more advanced in prayer, these tips might encourage you in your practice of prayer.
I'm working on it for me....I'm A WORK IN PROGRESS.
1. SHOW UP
There’s no bad way to pray,
and no single starting point for prayer.
On days when we find it most difficult to pray,
it’s often simply because we don’t quite get around to it.
In our hurried and distracted lives it can be yet another pressure on our time.
And yet the space it offers will be liberating.
We probably expect too much of ourselves –
“Am I praying properly?”
Best thing with prayer is just to SHOW UP
be there, just turn up!
Talk if you must!
2. QUIETEN YOURSELF & LOOK INSIDE
Quietness is easier in solitude,
but solitude isn’t something we turn-on or off like a tap.
It needs a body and a mind slowed-down enough
to be attentive to the present moment, the NOW….
without worrying about the past,
not worrying about the future…..
just being there, in silence, enjoying the moment now,
Life today can make us so preoccupied and distracted
with superficial things that we lose all focus
on what’s going on inside our heads
until a crisis suddenly renders us empty.
Then we’re forced to look into our own depth,
and that can be a frightening abyss
if we’ve spent years avoiding it.
It’s time to turn off the mobile,
shut down the computer, silence the iPod,
lay down the sports page,
just for now resist going out for coffee with a friend,
(this is your time with God and yourself,
save their company for another time)
so that, for one moment,
we’re not avoiding making friends
with the deepest part of us.
3. ESTABLISH A ROUTINE AND STICK WITH IT
What’s needed is a prayer form
that doesn’t demand energy you cannot muster on a given day.
Develop a RITUAL of prayer, which can carry you even when you’re tired
or feeling inattentive, indifferent…... to keep you praying
even when you’re feeling too tired to bother with prayer.
Prayer has an ebb and flow.
Sometimes we have a deep sense of God’s reality,
and sometimes we can’t even imagine that God exists.
Sometimes we have deep feelings about God’s goodness and love,
and sometimes we feel bored and distracted.
Try to pray faithfully every day,
but don’t make it a chore.
Relax in the space, the silence,
just being in the presence of God
without feeling the need to say anything
will create a deep, growing bond with God.
4. BE HONEST, VULNERABLE, BOLD
God asks us to bring our helplessness, weaknesses and imperfections to him. God understands that we’ll make mistakes.
What God asks is simply that we come home,
share our lives with him, and let him help us
in those ways we’re powerless to help ourselves.
Every feeling and thought we have is a valid entry into prayer,
no matter how irreverent, unholy,
selfish, sexual, or angry that thought or feeling might seem.
Simply put, if you go to pray and you’re feeling angry,
pray about your anger;
if you’re enslaved to a habit, pray about that habit;
if you’re thinking resentful thoughts about someone,
pray about your resentment.
What’s important is that we pray what’s inside of us
and not what we think God would like to see inside of us.
5. LET GO OF ANXIETY AND SHAME
The opposite of faith isn’t doubt but anxiety.
Faith doesn’t have you believe that you’ll have no worries,
or that you won’t make mistakes,
or that you and your loved ones
won’t sometimes fall victim to accident or sickness.
Faith says that God is real - we’re in safe hands.
6. LISTEN AND RECEIVE
God is the author of everything that’s good,
and can be heard through many things
that aren’t explicitly connected to faith and religion.
The voice of God is the voice of one
who knows us intimately
and calls each of us by name.
God understands us,
accepts us, delights in us,
and is eager to smile at us.
Experiencing the unconditional love of God
is what prayer, in the end, is all about.
Remember: your heart is made to rest in God.
If Saint Augustine is right—and he is—
then you can count on your restlessness
to lead you into deeper prayer—
the kind of prayer that leads to transformation
and will not leave you empty.
“God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you: pour your love into our hearts and draw us to yourself, and so bring us at last to your heavenly city where we shall see you face to face….”