One of the most frequent topics talked about during Spiritual Direction is Prayer. Rightly so, it is something that can be curious. It is because of these on going questions, the focus for the next few months will be on prayer types. Not just praying, but different types of prayer, prayer practices and prayer within our life. In short, prayer is a practice, a practice of speaking to God. Not that God needs practice or the goal is to become a professional prayer, it is to make prayer a part of every day. Maybe more like a positive habit.
One of the forms or styles of prayer is, Intercessory Prayer, which is a prayer for someone. Jesus demonstrated this when he raises Lazarus, look at John 11:35-37. Similarly, intercessory prayer, can also be a prayer to a Canonized Saint or a Holy Person to take to God, for ourself. These Saints have walked the Earth and understand our human needs. An intercessory prayer could be a prayer for someone, a place or a situation in need of prayer. Then finally there is rote prayer, which is a repeated and unchanging prayer. Some that might be recognized are the Serenity Prayer, Rosary and the Our Father.
The Our Father reminds us, that our prayers change from day to day. Although, there may be a similar need of a job, safe housing, healing or whatever, there is a different awareness of what that need may be. Much like the saying “we cannot return home”, each day holds different experiences and how we see things can change. It is the line, “give us this day, our daily bread” is the reminder Jesus offered us in the Bible, to pray regularly. It is not just bread, but whatever we need to make it another day. Which makes me think of a wise spiritual teacher once saying, “remember, wants and needs are not the same thing and sometimes needs look different or come from someone different than we may think they will”.
To begin with, as mentioned before, prayer is a practice. It may start as something that is needed to be scheduled into a day, but it can become a part of everyday life. If it is possible to look at practice as many athletes use practice, as something in preparation for something else. They may mention, practicing (while some may reference it as training) during off times between games. The action of practice, is what helps remind us of our spiritual faith, in addition to help us focus our minds. The action of practice is also what helps during unexpected times we experience throughout life.
With that, I will leave a prayer that is one I first used as an adult. This could be used as a form of rote prayer. Start a practice by reading the prayer below. As time provides and is comfortable to commit to sitting in a quite place, focus on some part of the prayer that stands out. Also, think of Disease, not only as an illness, but also as whatever takes us from God and our spiritual life.
Disease is so limited; It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope. It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace. It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship. It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage. It cannot invade the soul.
It cannot reduce eternal life. It cannot quench the Spirit.
It cannot lessen the power of the resurrection.
In God’s love we rest. Amen.
post script; beginning in the month of November, on Monday’s there will be a brief spiritual post to ponder, between posts.