It’s that time of year again to make some resolutions that will carry you through the joys and sorrows, celebrations and challenges, as well as the ordinary and extraordinary times ahead in this new year. I would suggest that you include prayer in your attempts to get through daily life as peaceably as possible. Let’s face it, each day brings with it any number of experiences that could be helped along by a prayer or two or, as Glenn Byer suggests, thinking of prayer as a state of being. Perhaps that could be your resolution this year. Begin to think and act toward life’s situations from an inner sense of yourself—a state of being. Try it; you might like it.
Prayer is the key of the day and the lock of the night.
To pray is to stroke the face of God.
If prayer is right, everything is right.
+Theophane the Recluse
Prayer is not complicated!...
I believe that prayer
is a state of being. In prayer we
make connections with God
and with one another in countless
that include words but also include
so much more.
When I was very young, I learned that prayer was lifting up my mind and heart to God. I learned prayer formulas, the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the rosary, and other prayers. I later learned that there are different kinds of prayer: praise, petition, gratitude, meditation, centering, etc. Many religions have their own unique kinds of prayer and ways of praying as do individuals who just pray as they are able. I have a sense that God smiles on us as we sometimes try to outdo one another in our many prayers and rituals. I am increasingly aware that my very promise to pray for someone is a prayer as I lift them up to God in my mind and in my heart.
When I do say a prayer with a patient, I often reach for her hand and join hands with those who may surround her and call on us to be aware of God’s presence and love and to be enfolded in that reality. I invite others to join their words, their thoughts, their songs to the prayer. It is always a very peaceful and uplifting experience, and I see it in the faces of those in the room. I never know what I’m going to say or do; the words and actions just seem to flow and fit the occasion. It’s really not complicated!
Another resolution connected with prayer this year may be to pray at least in the morning and in the evening. I’ve been saying, “Good morning, God!” every morning when I get up. A Bishop told my 1964 Confirmation class that that is what he did, and I’ve been doing it ever since. My Muslim friends pray five times a day, and many cloistered nuns and monks pray as many as seven times a day. Considering prayer as a state of being would help this to be as natural as breathing. It’s just something you do and or say all day long no matter the reason or event.
I pray that you will consider praying as one of your resolutions for 2020 and see it as the “key of the day and the lock of the night.” Reflect on Johannes Hermann’s words, “To pray is to stroke the face of God.” And “if prayer is right, everything is right,” so says Theophane the Recluse. And most of all remember, “Prayer is not complicated!” It naturally flows from the mind and the heart. Try it you; might like it! Blessings for the New Year!
Sister Mary Thill is a Sylvania Franciscan Sister. She is Patient Liaison for Mature Health Connections at Mercy Health – St. Vincent Medical Center. She can be reached at 419-251-3600. ❦