Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
February 18, 2008
Schedule prayer into your daytimer
Prayer, for many, is a part of our daily lives.
Liturgy of the Hours. The rosary. Mass.
But Lent is a time when prayer is underlined as we grow closer to Easter and the Lord.
Too often people turn away from this spiritual conversation. Their reasons are many. No time. Don't know how to pray. A child died. A love walked away forever.
This forgetting that we share our lives with Jesus leads to heart-breaking loneliness.
It's not as though prayer is a sign of weakness in today's media-driven society. Bono, that stellar rock star, puts his faith front and centre in many of his song lyrics. He prays each day, says grace with his wife and four children at mealtime, reads the Bible during a time he calls the Sabbath hour.
Bono has even been known to pray over his audience, echoing the words of Psalm 116: "What can I give back to God for the blessings that he has poured out on me? I'll lift high the cup of salvation. A toast to God. I'll pray in the name of God. I'll complete what I promised God I'll do. And I'll do it together with his people."
Master fiddler and mother of two, Natalie MacMaster and her husband Donnell Leahy weave their Catholic faith into their hectic lives. Daily prayer is a given and a wooden rosary from Medjugorje is favoured because Natalie can slip it around her neck and it won't set off alarms in airports.
As she makes the sign of the cross on her forehead just before going on stage, Natalie says, "Oftentimes I say a little prayer that for anyone who needs to receive something from the music God would work through me to help them – for me to be open to transmit whatever it is that he wants them to receive."
For these two musicians and a multitude of other artists, their art is part of their prayer life.
The key is to create the space for prayer. Example. As the priest opens the doors at St. Joseph's Basilica early Sunday morning, one or two searching souls slip in, buy their candles and then sink to their knees in front of the Blessed Sacrament to pour out their hearts.
The entreaties and gratitudes shared, then comes the crucial part – the listening.
For the hardest time in life is when God is silent. Or seems to be.
Others find their prayerful respite on the computer. Peak at their favourites and you will see Sacred Space (www.sacredspace.ie/). A labour of love by the gentle Irish Jesuits, this web site – available in 22 languages – takes you through a prayerful meditation each day.
Click by click you move into Jesus' presence. The daily Scripture is included and guidance is proffered should you want it.
Four million people from around the world made use of this computer chapel in 2007. And there is a place to leave your intentions.
The prayer usually takes 10 minutes or so and when you have pressed the final click, made the sign of the cross and silently said your "Amen," you feel as though you have rested in Jesus' arms.
Most have favourite prayers, words that comfort and say what you mean.
The one I murmur before opening the door to leave home each day comes from Father Mychal Judge, the populist priest who died ministering to the wounded in the World Trade Centre terrorist attack.
"Let me go where you want me to go. Let me meet who you want me to meet. Tell me what to say and keep me out of your way."
Even a hurried blessing or whispered "God help me," matters.
For as Henri Nouwen says, "Through prayer, we can carry in our heart all human pain and sorrow, all conflicts and agonies, all torture and war, all hunger, loneliness, and misery, not because of some great psychological or emotional capacity, but because God's heart has become one with ours."
- Lasha Morningstar
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