Today is Good Friday and our world situation looks very dark right now. I take comfort in the fact that “Sunday’s coming” and that this is only a temporary situation. One of the best things we can do for ourselves right now is to set aside some intentional time with God. Don’t make a chore out of this though. At the beginning of Lent my intention was to follow She Reads Truth as they read through Jeremiah. Then when things started to heat up in the world I was having trouble focusing.
Read more about finding peace during troubled times.
What I’m reading right now is reading Streams in the Desert, the Morning & Evening edition. It’s short but just meaty enough to reflect on. It’s really encouraging at this difficult time. I also take time throughout the day as I’m doing yoga, walking my dog in the yard or other activities to practice centering prayer or even just repeating parts of the Lord’s prayer over and over. Words are not coming easily right now and I take some comfort in knowing that I’m praying just as Jesus did. Another great read right now is On Earth as It Is in Heaven: How the Lord’s Prayer Teaches Us to Pray More Effectively
Making Time for Prayer
Making time for prayer in a busy life is hard any time, but it’s even tougher now because our minds are all over the place and it’s hard to get away from the news. Our kids are home, we have more responsibilities and more fear. By the time we sit down for some quiet, we find ourselves struggling with what to pray about and have limited focus and words. Here’s a few simple ideas to get you started.
Breath prayer. This gets me through crazy busy times. Don’t complicate it. Just breathe in and out with something like the Jesus prayer.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Eleventh Step Prayer
Lord, make me a channel of Thy peace; that where there is hatred, I may bring love; that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness; that where there is discord, I may bring harmony; that where there is error, I may bring truth; that where there is doubt, I may bring faith; that where there is despair, I may bring hope; that where there are shadows, I may bring light. that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted; to understand, than to be understood; to love, than to be loved. For it is by self forgetting, that one finds. It is by forgiving, that one is forgiven. It is by dying, that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.
These three prayers alone get me through most days. But I also like to use some guided prayer at the beginning of the day or the end of the day since I’m not very good at formulating prayers when I’m tired. There are lots of prayer books to be found but my own very favorite prayer books are by James Banks. They are so mellow, comforting and don’t take long to read through.
I also use the Divine Hours off and on. This is a great way to pray at fixed times throughout the day and evening. I always find these prayers to be really comforting and “hit the spot” to help me express things that I was struggling with but couldn’t find the words for.
Create a Personal Retreat for Quiet Contemplation
This period of lockdown and self isolation is a great time to think, plan, and learn. Difficult as it is, try to unplug, read and think. Carving out time for quiet contemplation isn’t a waste of time…it’s actually how you get ahead of things.
This is a fantastic time to regroup, rest up and destress. This rest is what gives your mind the time and ability to simply renew. It’s what makes you a better partner, a more patient mom, a more creative entrepreneur…you get the picture!
This simple act of self care should be one of your highest priorities right now. You owe it to yourself and those you care for to recharge. Keep it as simple as you need to, but just do it. You’ll see a big difference in the way your day plays out once you get into the habit of contemplation.
Remember that this strategy has worked for some of the most brilliant creative souls throughout history (and previous pandemics). So give it a serious try!
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