Looking at Google search trends may seem an odd thing to do, but over the last two months the rise in the search for ‘prayer’ has been significant and global. This got me thinking about what people know about prayer and why in times of crisis people from all over the world seek solace and meaning from God.
Jesus was asked by one of his disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11). From this simple request we received the most well-known prayer in Christian tradition. This coming week sparks a week of prayer for Christian Unity across all Christian denominations as well as focussed week of prayer in the Anglican Church led by the Archbishop of Canterbury called “Thy Kingdom Come”.
For me, prayer has always felt like a conversation with God and I always try to begin and end with gratitude. Finding different things each day to be thankful for and expressing this to God brings peace and joy into that prayer moment, no matter what else is happening in the day.
In these uncertain times, when our lives look so different from just a few months ago, finding time each day to sit with God can be so beneficial. Even if we don’t have the words to say, being still and inviting God to sit with you brings calm. From my time on retreat with Benedictine nuns I have learnt to breathe deeply when I begin to pray. This simple act of focussing on the life giving breath of God brings focus and clarity and helps me to continue in prayer. I invite you to add some or all of the following prayer patterns to your day and see how God can bring change and joy into your life.
Mornings: as you place your feet on the floor from rising, pause and take a deep breath. Bring to mind three things you are grateful for: the gift of new day, the rain (or sunshine), family. Breath again and move into your day.
At some point during the day: pause for a few moments. Take note of the things around you: a tree or plant, co-workers, cool breeze and again be thankful. Bring to mind a problem or issue and ask God to help find a solution or way forward. Breathe and continue with the rest of your day.
Before bed: think back over your day. Bring to mind something that has brought you joy and something that was a challenge. Ask God to be in your every moment and for peaceful rest. Finally note again three things you are thankful for.
Prayer can be simple or filled with many words. God wants us to invite him into our lives, not just in times of crisis but at all times. I often seek out other people’s prayers and reflections to help me see how diverse prayer can be. I shared the following prayer by Michael Leunig with the staff at the beginning of the week. It shows how creative and fun we can be with our prayers.
Rev’d Sharon Mitchell
Click here to read Michael Leunig’s Prayer for Pumpkins.