A Good Bedtime Prayer

There is a wellspring of things to offer to God and receive from him by simply looking at your life.  This prayer never seems to get old because life is so full and God is so active.  Here is my version of this “examen” or “reviewing of my day with God.”  Most of it was passed on to me by some great Jesuits.  5-7 minutes is an ideal amount of time for this prayer but depending upon circumstances, it can take between 30 seconds to 30 minutes.  Whether you pray with words, feelings or images, lift up everything to God, bringing your life into the loving Light of Christ.   Periodically you can adapt this to review a certain season in your life instead of just a day.

Prayerful Review of the Day

Pray for Light

  • Ask that you can look at this day with His light.
  • “Holy Spirit, please enlighten my mind so I may see this day you gave me in truth and love.”

From this day, for what am I most thankful?
Where do I see God’s grace active in this day? 

  • Converse with Jesus about these things and listen to what these good things mean in your life.
  • “Thank you… Jesus, you are… This is special because…”
  • Allow gratitude to well up.  Offer it back to the Father with love.

From this day, for what am I least thankful? 
What needs to be converted?
What was a challenge?

  • Converse with Jesus about these things and listen to what needs healing.
  • “Please forgive me… I’m sad… Please help…”
  • Offer it back to the Father with love.

Tomorrow with Christ

  • Converse with Jesus about how God wants to (or has already) equip you for tomorrow.
  • “What concept, scripture verse or resolution shall I carry in my heart for tomorrow?”
  • Make a tiny resolution about your own action for tomorrow.  Ask for God’s grace to fulfill it.

Howard be thy name?!?… the Our Father for kids

If you listen to a kid pray the Lord’s Prayer, it is super cute “our father who art in heaven, Howard be thy name”… until you realize that she has no idea what she is saying.  Even for adults, it is easy to zip through the prayer without meaning the words because they are different from the terms we usually speak.  So, here’s a translation for a 9 year old:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
God, you are our father.  You are in heaven. Continue reading “Howard be thy name?!?… the Our Father for kids”

Family Prayer

We pray as a family around the fireplace every so often and sometimes just as a married couple.  Since this time is not always easy, it can help to have some format.  Here’s an idea to try adapting along with your own message:

Family Prayer
 
Song 
Bless the Lord, o my soul and all that is within me bless His holy name.  (or a different song)

Light Candle with Prayer
Leader:       “This candle reminds us that Jesus is with us.”
All:              “Jesus, you are welcome here.”
Leader:       “We come together as a family to love you, to listen to you and to be filled up with you.”
 
Message
Deliver a good short message to the family using the bible, a book, storytelling, art, conversation, witnessing etc.  Ideas: a healing story of Jesus’, the importance of kindness, the definition of love… Continue reading “Family Prayer”

Deliver to Heaven

While trying to explain the “thees”, “thous” and “arts” of the Our Father, my daughter murmured something about a mailbox.

“What did you say, Sweetie?”

“Does God put us in an envelop and send us away from evil?”

“Oh, right.  The Lord said, ‘deliver us from evil.'”

“Yes, deliver us.   The address should say, ‘heaven’.”

Oh, kids!  You’ve got to love their perspective.  But as cute as that is, it is hard for my adult mistrusting brain to really take in the message of God’s loving deliverance from evil.  Continue reading “Deliver to Heaven”

Give from God’s Strength

I’ve found myself feeling pulled in a million directions and failing people at every turn.  People who have a legitimate right to my love and attention- friends, parents, children, spouse, neighbors, school administrators… are often cut short and do not get what they deserve from me.  This is true also of the orphan, the widow, the poor, the sick, the friendless – people who I read about, who I pass on the street, who I know are out there.  Like everyone else in this world, I need to learn that I am limited.  Yet, my own smallness enables me to humbly tap into God’s eternal love. Continue reading “Give from God’s Strength”

We Need Something Beautiful to Follow

Do your kids ever move as slow as molasses in the morning?  Well, take a guess about mine.  Today, however, I inadvertently stumbled upon something to make my little one walk more quickly to school.  Bubbles.  I was out on the porch waiting for the kids to get on their shoes.  Since I haven’t cleaned up the porch from all of our summer fun, an assortment of bubble containers greeted me.  Nonchalantly, I meandered down the driveway.  My kids came out and skipped quickly to grasp the translucent pearls floating in the air.  I quickened my pace and the kids gladly followed, feeling as if their walk this morning was magical.  That’s what beauty does for me.

Maybe today, you, like me, need a few bubbles to delight you on your walk.  So, here are three beautiful things that can help you along your path to heaven this day…

Continue reading “We Need Something Beautiful to Follow”

Aspirations

“My God and my all.”  “Have mercy on us.”  “Jesus, I trust in you.”  Phrases like these, issued in correspondence with the rising and falling of your breath are part of an ancient and natural method of prayer called aspirations.  My dependence on something like this type of prayer began at about age 5, as it probably has for many frightened children…

I wasn’t supposed to be watching.  The movie which took my parent’s attention away from me as I struggled to fall asleep was evidently not good for kids.  As I crept down the stairs for the third time this night in order to softly beckon my mother’s presence, I paused, crouched behind the chair to see what this attention stealer was all about.  A couple was scuba diving in beautifully dark blue water.  Bubbles cascaded from their mouths as they communicated about the lady exploring something in a darker section.  He motioned upwards but she continued.  Suddenly an eel like creature with pale orange skin, flat eyes and needle like fangs sprang from below, pulling the flailing diver into the abyss.  I winced, drawing the attention of my surprised parents.  Sternly sent to bed once more, I was paralyzed with fear lying there alone.  Ball-like and taught, even my toes fiercely dreaded the end of my bed which surly contained the eel, hidden under my covers.  With my parents lost in reprimanding mode, God was my only hope.  I envisioned a light coming straight from heaven, flooding around me, loving and protecting me.  Over and over again, I said the name of Jesus (mentally only, of course because to open my mouth would be to risk too much).  His name, first spoken at lightening fast speed, eventually slowed to a soft rhythm.  God’s presence was with me.  I calmed and slept.  Thus began my life long spiritual practice of aspirations.

Continue reading “Aspirations”

Personal Prayer

Do you ever want to pray but not really know what to do?  Here are some ideas for about 10-15 minutes of quiet personal prayer.  What do you usually do?  What are your ideas?  What is best for you?  Leave a comment if you wish!

Ideas of things to do during personal prayer time

  • With Jesus, read, think and talk about part of the New Testament, slowly.
  • Lift up your family to God. Imagine that you are standing next to them and you are all right before the throne of God.  Smile at the Lord and show him your people.
  • Lie down and hide yourself in God’s arms. Let go of your troubles.  Trust in the Lord.  Let your breath speak His name.
  • List on paper or mentally, people in your life. Let your list be your prayer for them.
  • Think deeply with God about the people in your life. Pray for their needs and hopes.  Ask God how you can help.
  • With God, list your responsibilities. Tell Him what you are having the most trouble with.  Note the ideas that come to mind as solutions.

Continue reading “Personal Prayer”

Digital Prayer Shelf

Sometimes it helps to have a written or audio guide for a daily prayer time/ devotional.  Also, listening and learning at other times through out the week can really help to fuel the fire.  Here is an assortment of digital media you can use.

Continue reading “Digital Prayer Shelf”

Give from God’s Strength

I’ve found myself feeling pulled in a million directions and failing people at every turn.  People who have a legitimate right to my love and attention- friends, parents, children, spouse, neighbors, school administrators… are often cut short and do not get what they deserve from me.  This is true also of the orphan, the widow, the poor, the sick, the friendless – people who I read about, who I pass on the street, who I know are out there.  Like everyone else in this world, I need to learn that I am limited.  Yet, my own smallness enables me to humbly tap into God’s eternal love. Continue reading “Give from God’s Strength”