“Lord, teach us to pray.” Parish retreat: February 25- 27 2014, Handout

  • All prayer is universal: Even our most intimate moments of prayer in solitude are connected to Christ and all people who pray. We are not alone in our efforts to search for God. How do you begin to pray in your daily life? How do you bring even your most intimate life moments to God?
  • All prayer is God’s initiative in our lives: Our human desire to pray is already a gift from God’s love within our lives. We already belong to God. There is nothing that separates us from this divine grace. How do you view your life as already in God’s love?
  • Creating a safe place to pray is a healthy step toward daily prayer. Have a special place in a room or outside is a good beginning of prayer. Praying regularly in the same place begins to create a physical environment where we are homesick for God. How can you create a prayer space within your home, apartment or living quarters?
  • Praying during the same time each day helps to create a healthy rhythm of prayer. Carving out a time of prayer is essential to sustain personal prayer. When are you most alert, in the morning or evening? When can you concentrate on prayer? When in your day do you feel most attentive to offering your life to God?
  • Finding good posture for your body helps to open your heart to God. Sitting up straight, feet on the floor, hands on your lap, concentrating on your breathing all helps to put your body in a healthy place for prayer. How do you pray in your body, sitting or standing? What works for you to relax in God?
  • Seek silence in your daily prayer. Silence is a rich path toward prayer. Silence can also be intimidating in our culture today. We may be fearful to face God or our selves in silence. Silence is a beautiful path toward God. Try moments of silence in pray where all physical noise and distractions are limited. How do you experience silence?
  • Breathe deeply. Paying attention to your breathing helps you to live in the moment. Intentional breathing helps to focus not only your body but also your inner life on God. Practice breathing deeply and resting in quiet. Have you practiced intentional breathing as an entryway into silence and prayer?
  • Bring the truth of your life to God. Offer to God your real self. Living in the moment helps you offer your life as it is back to God. Sometimes we all can get caught in thinking that our lives should be a certain way rather than offering our real situations, our broken relationships, our pain, and our confusion to the Divine. How do you offer your real self to God? How do you feel in such an offering?
  • Cultivate a desire for God. This relationship needs to be nurtured on a daily basis. Focus the core of your life toward God’s love for you. How can you maintain a true desire for God in your life situation? How can you learn to pray always and not lose heart?
  • Behold the name of Jesus. The name of Jesus is a path toward honest and true prayer. Entering into silence focusing on the name of Jesus in our hearts may lead to living a life of prayer. The name of Jesus heals the many wounds we carry within our hearts. Can you carry the name of Jesus in your heart throughout the day?
  • Let go of the past. As we learn to pray in the present moment, bringing our lives to God each day, the past falls back into the wake of life. Our focus is today. God’s grace heals even the most painful circumstances of the past. God’s grace pierces our hearts today and heals every ill. How does prayer help you live in the moment? How can you receive God’s healing in your prayer this day?
  • Set your heart on the Kingdom of God: Focus on God’s Kingdom each time you pray. God’s love awaits you no matter the style or kind of prayer. Love awaits God’s people. This awareness enables us to give God praise and to live a life of gratitude sustained by the Holy Spirit. How are you living a life centered on gratitude and forgiveness?

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