OK not sure if I”ll be able to come up with 100 ways but I want anyone reading this to know that there is more than one way to pray.
For some of us prayer is a “in the moment” , “in the spirit” sort of thing
For others of us prayer is steeped in ritual(think about the prayers you know by heart)
But there are other ways to pray and trying them can really enlighten how we see ourselves and our relationship with God.
Jesus taught us to pray
We say The Our Father
every time we go to church it can be found in Mathew 6:9-13
but it was not the only prayer I like to think of it as more of a formula for one way how we should pray.
Among the other prayers we say
The sign of the cross, the glory be, the Hail Mary,
we have the rosary, a collection of prayers that some may say is meaningless to repeat, but I say when you are in a time of struggle(oh no you probably think I’m about to quote the song LET IT BE by the beatles, ) but I’m not
when you are so deep in despair and don’t know what to say or even how to pray, praying something you know by heart and don’t have to think about the words, and its repetitive, and ultimately can relax you and bring you peace
but there are other types of prayer as well
the above links to a great resource but essentially in Lectio Divina you pick a scripture passage, read it thoughtfully, slowly,
then read it again and take notice if any part, word or phrase stands out to you
then read it a final time and think about what that phrase, passage, word is calling you to do.
listen to gods voice in your heart and mind
Guided Scriptural Meditation(this is a sample from st. mary’s press but there are many books out there on scriptural guided meditation aimed at various age groups as well)
in Guided meditation
we encourage our students
1. to relax , sit comfortably, slow their breathing, slow their mind(you may want to play some quiet instrumental music during this time), (dim the lights)(talk in a low calm voice)
2.put them in the bible, is Jesus in the dessert, is he at the sea of Galilee, set the scene for the people you are guiding into this prayer. Describe with you voice low and quiet.
3. Read the passage, is it the woman at the well, is it Jesus calling the children to him, is it with zacheus trying to see jesus…etc….
4. bring those in prayer to Jesus, remember you are guiding them, they are using their imaginations.
for example you may say:
Jesus looks up and notices you, he looks at you and motions for you to come sit near him. Jesus asks you how you are doing. Take a minute in your mind to share your thoughts with Jesus(this is what we do when we pray right?) Jesus wants to know all that makes you happy but also things that may be bothering you. (pause) Jesus now wants to pray with and for you, what does he say. Jesus thanks you for taking the time to spend with him. Jesus tells you that you can come back and visit him anytime, that he is always there. All you have to do is look for him.
and finally, say goodbye to Jesus and thank him for taking time with you, slowly open your eyes and come back to now come back to today and think about your time with Jesus.
Then you may ask the group(I’ve done this with 1st graders as well as adults) how they feel, if they want to share anything. For some this can be a very emotional way to pray I’ve seen some moved to tears.
This is not idol worship, it is a way of bringing us closer to God through observing and noticing things about fine christian art.
is an excellent article and sample of how to do this think about this the next time you get to church/mass early look around at the beautiful art….what do you notice, how does it make you feel.
The above are just some ways to pray and all are useful and available to all ages.
we pray when we say the creed
we pray when we sing
we pray when we make the sign of the cross
we pray when we bless someone
we can pray anytime
we can pray anywhere
God is always near.