5/28/12

A "refresher course" on praying 10 minutes a day...



On FaceBook, in email and in encounters with folks around me, I'm pleased to learn that these daily posts are helping others in their prayer.

A parishioner suggested I offer a little "refresher course" in praying 10 minutes each day so here's an updated version of the post that began this series at the beginning of Lent 2012.

Praying 10 minutes a day
I have my radio on each morning as I shave and shower and dress.  I've noticed that the time it takes me to get ready each day depends on whether I'm listening to talk radio or classical music.  Although I do the same things each morning and never actually stop and stand still to listen, it takes me longer to get ready with talk radio than it does with music.  And if I'm really in a hurry, turning my radio OFF can trim 5-7 minutes off my time!

Background sounds can so easily distract and slow us down, imperceptibly pulling us away from what we're doing or want to do. 

Noise and sound can easily confuse, disrupt and distract us...  
Silence helps us relax, focus and clarify...

What sounds in my life distract and slow me down, making my focus fuzzy and my attention weak? 
Does ambient noise distract me spiritually as well as physically?

Sometimes we say or sing aloud our prayer but there's also a kind of prayer that happens only in the silence.  Sure, I sometimes pray on the run and in my car, but there's nothing like slowing down, easing into the silence, to help me find and know the presence of God.

Suppose I set aside 10 minutes a day...

Just 10 minutes
to sit down in a quiet place,
apart from others, 
to breathe deeply,
to be still...
to know that God is near, 
at hand, by my side, in my heart..

What would be the best time of day for me to spend these 10 minutes?  
     in the morning?  midday?  in the evening?

What might be the best place for me to find some peace and quiet?
     at home?  at work?  in a church or chapel?  outdoors?

How will I begin?
     make the sign of the Cross...
     relax and remember that God is with me...
     ask God to help me to pray...
     be at peace with however the 10 minutes might pass
          and remember that tomorrow is another day to pray...

How might I spend these 10 minutes?
     in silence...
     with the scriptures...
     resting in the silence, in the presence of God...
     speaking from my heart to the Lord's heart...

What might I pray?
     tell the Lord what's in my heart and on mind...
     speak to him as I would to my best friend...
     pray by listening...

How might I use the scriptures...
     read the scriptures until I find a verse that hits me...
     read that verse again, and again, and again until I know it...
     speak it aloud or pray it silently, letting it sink in...
     let the verse become part of my prayer...
     ask the Lord to bring that verse back to my attention 
       through the day...
 
What might I expect?
     peace and quiet...  
     time alone with the Lord...
     the consolation of God's presence... 
     a word, a prayer to carry with me through the day...

How will I end my 10 minutes?
     thank the Lord for this time with him...
     pledge to return tomorrow...
     pray the Our Father...
     make the sign of the Cross...

Just 10 minutes?  That's a good way to begin.  Set a modest goal: 10 minutes out a day of 1,440 minutes is certainly a modest goal.  As you want to spend more time in prayer, spend more time in prayer...

Watch each day for the Cross at the top of this post: a reminder, a nudge, to set apart 10 minutes a day...  to be still...  and to know that God is near...


And if you'd like your own wooden pocket Cross with the inscription from Psalm 46, just send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to me at 55 Church Street, Concord, MA 01742 and I'll send you one.  (Not a fund raiser!  No charge!  Please send no cash!)


 

     
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