photo by Charles Edward Case

As I write these words, the outcome of the U.S. election is still uncertain. By the time you read these words we may know more about the election results, but we have known throughout 2020 that we have a way to go before divisiveness subsides and chaos diminishes. No matter how we engage the next chapter of our national narrative, our prayer life is essential to sustaining us (an obvious statement, and also an important reminder always!).

Mother Susan reminded us last week in her post, that there are many ways to live into our commitment to prayer. As you consider how to incorporate prayer most effectively into your life, I offer you this simple contemplative exercise. We shared it at our Holy Eucharist on Monday evening. It takes about 15 minutes and provides a simple, straightforward path to refocusing on God’s presence:

  1. Read a passage from Scripture (daily lectionary readings can be found at www.prayer.forwardmovement.org).
  2. Close your eyes and give thanks for three blessings of which you are especially conscious today.
  3. Ask God to help three people you feel need God’s help today.
  4. Ask God to forgive specific mistakes and sins from the last 24 hours and give you the strength to forgive others.
  5. Ask God to help one person whom you find difficult to like. Ask God to be present with that person and ask for the power to let God’s love flow through you to that person.
  6. Ask God to give you an awareness of the needs of one person today with whom you can share God’s love in word or deed.
  7. Ask for insights into your struggles.
  8. Ask for help with your aspirations and hopes.
  9. Ask God to tell you the most important thing you need to do today to seek God’s kingdom.
  10. Sit in silence and listen to God for a few minutes.

This exercise is one of many that can help us center down and cut through anxiety and extraneous noise. It is not definitive—pray in whatever way works best for you and helps you to know the One who loves us and is creating new life always.