Friday, March 11, 2011

How's that Daily Prayer workin' for ya?

Image: ChurchPP

Since only one reader has left a combox reply for my series on Daily Prayer in Lent, and two others, offline, I thought a few words might be helpful here.

Unlike other seasonal series I’ve offered, in this one you have to do all the work! It’s one thing for me to compose and post a prayer or reflection for you to read and pray with. It’s quite another thing for me to post a scripture (a psalm) and invite you to do the praying!

The method for prayer I’ve suggested is one I’ve used for a long time, a way of praying that I’ve found very helpful - and I hope you’ll find it helpful in your spiritual life, especially this Lent.

Finding some quiet time is very important. Praying at your computer screen might not be helpful for you and if that’s the case, print out the post and take it to a place where you can pray more easily.

You might begin your prayer with this...

Approach the psalm with the confidence that in its verses you will find (at least) one which speaks to your heart - a word from the Lord for you.

If some verses or images are difficult to understand, don’t let them throw you - move on to the verses that speak to you.

Pray through the psalm once, twice, three times until one verse "calls your name."

Pray that verse as a mantra, any number of times until you’ve made it your own, until it’s “hidden in your heart.”

I usually write the verse down and hide it in my pocket so that later in the day I have it for reference if the wording escapes me.

Ask the Lord to bring that verse to your mind and heart during the day as often as it might be a blessing, a grace for you.

We began with Psalm 51 which I noted I had prayed last Friday. The Lord’s word to me that was this verse:
Creator, reshape my heart,
God, steady my spirit…

Although I’ve prayed other psalms and kept other verses since then, this one verse keeps returning and it has helped me through a week in which I needed the Lord to reshape my heart and steady my spirit - a number of times!

Perhaps you’d be willing to share with us in the combox a verse you’ve “hidden in your heart.” Of if you have questions about praying this way, please feel free to ask them and I’ll do my best to respond.

Remembering that hundreds of people may read your comment, I’ll be careful in posting what has come from your prayer…

I hope these comments have been helpful.

You are all in my prayer!



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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, Fr. Fleming the Psalms so far have been great. The phrase that keeps coming to me from Psalm 51 is "Bring back my Joy. Fill me with Happy Songs" I have written it on a post it note and tucked it away in my purse, so i have it with me. Will continue to do so with the subsequent Psalms and discover new phrases. I love "A prayer to begin my prayer". It is so beautiful. Thank you and keep them coming!!

Linda Reid said...

I am a cantor and, therefore, have used the psalms as my prayerbook for years - so much so that I find each verse tied to music, the verses that are the lectionary refrains especially.
But the translation that you are using has given me many new insights and I thank you for this. The verse that I have "hidden in my heart" from psalm 118 is:

The Lord is with me, I fear not.
What can they do to me now?

The "they" may change from week to month to year, but the Lord never leaves me!

Anonymous said...

Hi Father,
This way of praying has been helpful to me this week. The phrase which stuck was "Lord, show me the way" as I struggle with conflict with a young teenager who is in need of both discipline and love. Finding the balance isn't easy so the Lord's guidance has been necessary.