As New Year’s approaches, and many set their sights on some kind of renewal or resolve, I’d like to offer some advice. It’s not mine, but it is a beautiful suggestion that I believe many of us could use.Including me.
The resolution: to pray for five minutes a day five days a week. It might sound hard, or might sound too simple, but it’s a start for sure. Choose one, or mix and match. However you go about it, there is no greater place to begin anew than with God.
1. write your prayers in a journal. This helps you keep track of your prayers and see progress (or areas where you might be stuck).
2. meditative prayer. which means that you memorize a prayer, like the Lord’s prayer, or the 23rd Psalm, or the prayer of St. Francis. Then, having memorized it, you say it slowly, offering a phrase (aloud or silently) with each exhaling breath.
3. contemplative prayer. which means, practically, sitting silently and envisioning the reality that you are wrapped in the arms of a loving God. You don’t need to say anything, and when your mind wanders (it will) you simply return to pondering God’s loving presence. Another way of doing this is to repeat a word that God might give you. I’ll sometimes pray this way: ”I receive your wisdom Lord – thank you” or instead of wisdom, maybe ‘peace’, ‘patience’, ‘courage’ or whatever is needed for the day.
5. talk to God. if you’re not a journal keeper, then just talk with God. If you need some structure to the conversation, try categories: a) Give thanks for a blessing you’ve experience (whether a sunrise, or good conversation, or….) b) confess where you’ve failed or are struggling, and thank God for his forgiveness c) request from God things that are own your heart, as you express your need for provision, direction, healing d) pray for others, asking God to respond to situations in your sphere of concern.
Maybe New Year’s resolutions aren’t your thing. That’s fine. I still believe we could all greatly benefit from five minutes with God.
It’s definitely worth trying, right?