Weekly Prayer Practices

When asked by pollsters, 65% of Americans say they pray at least once a month. A majority of Americans pray, even if they don’t consider themselves Christian or a part of any religion. 

 

For some people, prayer is natural and effective. They believe God hears their requests and answers them. For other people, traditional ways of praying are frustrating and they feel God does not hear them or answer their prayers.

 

There are numerous ways to pray. In this sermon series called “Be Still” we will focus on a meditative form of praying. This way of praying focuses more on resting in God’s surrounding presence, rather than firing off daily requests or “to do” lists to God. This series includes printed and audio resources that will help you be still and pray each day.

September 29th - "Be Still"

Be Still
  1. Find a quiet place, generally free of distractions, and sit in a comfortable position.

  2. Close your eyes and calm yourself for a few moments.

  3. Say a short prayer (or even the Lord’s Prayer) to focus yourself on God’s presence.

  4. Bring your focus to your breathing. Your breath is a reminder of God’s moment to moment sustaining power in your life.

  5. Clear your mind of worrisome thoughts, thoughts about tasks you need to do, or thoughts about yourself or others. Just rest in the present moment, surrounded by God’s presence.

  6. If thoughts come up, don’t judge them. Just return your attention to your breath.

  7. See if you can do this for five minutes.

  8. When the time is up, open your eyes, take a moment to rest in the presence of God.

  9. Go and show compassion to others in your thoughts, words and actions.

October 6th - "No Requests"

The Stream
  1. Find a quiet place, generally free of distractions, and sit in a comfortable position.

  2. Close your eyes and calm yourself for a few moments.

  3. Say a short prayer (or the Lord’s Prayer) to focus yourself on God’s presence.

  4. Bring your focus to your breathing. Your breath is a reminder of God’s moment to moment sustaining power in your life.

  5. Visualize yourself alone and seated by a running stream.

  6. Bring to mind any thoughts you have been recently having that start with the following phrases:

    • I need …

    • I want …

    • I should have …

    • I deserve …

  7. When any of these thoughts arise, don’t judge them or critique them. Visualize yourself putting those thoughts into the stream and watching them float away.

  8. Do this for six minutes, or until you have no more of these kinds of thoughts, then just sit peacefully surrounded by the presence of God. 

  9. When the time is up, open your eyes and take a moment to rest in the presence of God.

  10. Go and show compassion to others in your thoughts, words and actions.

October 13th - "Let It Be"

1. Find a quiet place, generally free of distractions, and sit in a        comfortable position.
2. Close your eyes and calm yourself for a few moments.
3. Say a short prayer (or the Lord’s Prayer) to focus yourself on        this time of prayer.
4. Focus on your breathing. Your breath is a reminder of God’s        surrounding presence and moment to moment sustaining            power in your life.
5. Next, bring to your awareness a person you are having                conflict with, a hurt or offense in your life, or a troubling                situation for which you desire an outcome.
6. Notice and feel (if it is helpful) the feelings you are having            about this situation. How is this anger, anxiety or fear                    manifesting itself in your body? Don’t critique or analyze how        you feel. Don’t judge yourself for these feelings.
7. Then, when it seems appropriate, say (or even repeat) the            phrase, “Let it be.”
8. Do this for seven minutes, or until you have no more situations      to pray for. 
9. Close by taking a few moments to sit peacefully, surrounded        by the presence of God, and then open your eyes.
10. Go and show compassion to others in your thoughts, words      and actions.

October 20th - "Breath Prayer" (Psalm 46)

1. You can practice this prayer anywhere, and at any time.
2. Take a moment to still your body, and quiet your thoughts.
3. In that quiet space, pray Psalm 46:10 using the Breath Prayer.
4. Slowly inhale and exhale as you say these phrases. 
5. You can do it once as a shorter prayer, or say the phrase              repeatedly as a longer prayer.


               [Inhale] Be still and know [exhale] that I am God.
               [Inhale] Be still [exhale] and know.
               [Inhale] Be still. [exhale]
               [Inhale] Be. [exhale]

October 27th - "But, I don't know."

  1. Find a quiet place, generally free of distractions, and sit in a comfortable position.

  2. Close your eyes and calm yourself for a few moments.

  3. Say a short prayer (or the Lord’s Prayer) to focus yourself on this time of prayer.

  4. Focus on your breathing. Your breath is a reminder of God’s surrounding presence and moment to moment sustaining power in your life.

  5. Bring to your heart a worry you have about the future that you ultimately have no control over. Meet that worry with the phrase, “But, I don’t know.”

  6. Bring before God something you think God should do. Meet that desire with the phrase, “But, I don’t know.”

  7. Bring a strong belief that you have about how the world “should be.” Meet that opinion with the phrase, “But, I don’t know.”

  8. Do this for eight minutes, or until you have no more phrases to pray.

  9. Close by taking a few moments to sit peacefully, surrounded by the presence of God, and then open your eyes.

  10. Go and show respect to others in your words and actions.

November 3rd - "Praying for other people."

  1. Find a quiet place, generally free of distractions, and sit in a comfortable position.

  2. Close your eyes and calm yourself for a few moments.

  3. Say a short prayer (or the Lord’s Prayer) to focus yourself on this sacred time.

  4. Focus on your breathing. Your breath is a reminder of God’s surrounding presence and moment to moment sustaining power in your life.

  5. Next, ask yourself, “Who do I love, care for, or am aquatinted with that I am being led to pray for today?”

  6. When a name or face comes to mind, pray a simple one or two word prayer for that individual: “Healing”, “Peace”, or “Strength”.

  7. Bring to mind an individual with whom you are in an adversarial relationship. If a person comes to mind for which the emotions are too raw, simply let that person’s face pass by.

  8. When a name or face comes to mind, pray a simple one or two word prayer for that individual: “Understanding,” “Truth,” or “Openness”.

  9. Next, visualize the divine presence embracing you and all for whom you have prayed, all at once.

  10. Close by taking a few moments to sit peacefully, surrounded by the presence of God, and then open your eyes.

  11. Go and show respect to others in your words and actions.

November 10th - "Praying for Justice"

1. Find a quiet place, generally free of distractions, and sit in a    comfortable position. Close your eyes and calm your thoughts for a few moments.
2. Focus on your breathing. Your breath is a reminder of God’s surrounding presence and moment to moment sustaining power in your life.
3. Visualize yourself in the situation that corresponds to the day of the week:
    * Monday: Those who are wrongfully incarcerated.
    * Tuesday: Those who are persecuted for their faith.
    * Wednesday: Those who are discriminated against because of the color of their skin.
    * Thursday: Those who live in poverty.
    * Friday: Those who are victims of domestic violence.
4. Though it may be difficult to relate, see if you can feel what it might be like if you were in this situation and longed for fairness and justice. If a situation is too painful for you, then pass it by.
5. Next, pray the words, “I ask justice for …” and then bring before God the group of people listed for that particular day. Start on Monday and add one more group each week to your prayers. By the end of the week, you will be praying for all of these groups of people.
6. Close by ask the Spirit to humbly shift your perspective about others and to help you see “those people” as “your people”.
7. Take a few moments to sit peacefully, surrounded by the presence of God, and then open your eyes.

November 17th - "Connecting with God at Mealtimes"

1. As you prepare to eat, pause and take a few moments to quiet yourself and open your awareness to what’s happening around you. What do you hear? What do you see and smell? Go beyond the internal narrative of your personal thoughts and concerns.
2. Once your awareness opens, pause, and then say a short prayer of blessing before you eat. Here are two suggestions:


     The eyes of all look to you (O LORD) in hope;
     you give them their food as they need it.
     When you open your hand,
     you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing. Amen.
        (Psalm 145:15-16)


     Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
     His faithful love endures forever.
     He gives food to every living thing.
     His faithful love endures forever. Amen.
        (Psalm 136:1,25)


3. As you eat, be mindful of the sights, smells and taste of your food. Try and eat your meal without watching a “screen” or reading a book.
4. When you have eaten your fill you may, “return thanks” to God with this, or another, short prayer:


     "We give thanks to you, Lord God our Father, through Jesus         Christ our Lord for all your benefits, you who live and reign           forever. Amen." 
        (Luther’s Small Catechism)