Community Prayer

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The Lord’s Prayer

Jesus did give us an example of how to pray in Matthew 6:5-15:

“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then in this way:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you;
but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
 

Breakdown of The Lord's Prayer
 

Jesus starts by telling us to be authentic in prayer. It’s not about putting on a show or saying the right words. Prayer is about genuinely entering conversation with God in an intimate space. He then teaches us what we now refer to as “The Lord’s Prayer.” In this prayer, Jesus covers multiple topics for us to meditate on in our time with God.

  • God is holy and sacred
  • Our desire is for God’s kingdom to be present with us
  • We will trust in God’s will
  • Our sustenance is a gift from God and we are grateful
  • Please forgive us and help us to forgive others
  • Save us from our tendency to mess things up 

Breath Prayer

Breath prayer is an ancient Christian prayer practice dating back to at least the sixth century. Known as the “Jesus Prayer” or “Prayer of the Heart,” early practitioners would repeat to the rhythm of their breath the phrase, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” In time, the prayer was shortened to, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy” or simply, “Jesus, mercy.” Breath prayer is a good example of “praying without ceasing,” and has the potential to become as natural as breathing. It is intended to be a very short prayer of praise or petition, just six to eight syllables. The words of the prayer can be easily adjusted to your heart’s desire.

Breath Prayers:

  • “Lord, Have Mercy”
  • “Speak Lord, I’m Listening”
  • “Here I am, Lord”
  • “Not My Will, But Yours”

Centering Prayer

Centering Prayer is a receptive method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God's presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship.

Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer. Rather, it adds depth of meaning to all prayer and facilitates the movement from more active modes of prayer - verbal, mental or affective prayer - into a receptive prayer of resting in God. Centering Prayer emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God and as a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Christ.

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina, literally translating to divine reading, is an ancient Christian practice of praying the Scriptures. During Lectio Divina, a person listens to or reads the text of the Bible with the ‘ear of the heart,’ as if he or she is in conversation with God, and God is suggesting the topics for discussion. The method of Lectio Divina includes moments of reading (lectio), reflecting on (meditatio), responding to (oratio) and resting in (contemplatio) the Word of God with the aim of nourishing and deepening one's relationship with the Divine.

Like Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina cultivates contemplative prayer. Unlike Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina is a participatory, active practice that uses thoughts, images and insights to enter into a conversation with God. Lectio Divina also is distinguished from reading the Bible for edification or encouragement, Bible study, and praying the Scriptures in common, which are all useful but different practices.

Prayer of Examen

A great way to pray is to look for God’s presence in your life. More than 400 years ago St. Ignatius Loyola encouraged prayer-filled mindfulness by proposing what has been called the Daily Examen. The Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and to discern his direction for us. Try this version of St. Ignatius’s prayer.

  • Give Thanks
  • Review the Day
  • Face Shortcomings
  • Look for Help Tomorrow

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