Stream rising from our coffee or tea is a great opportunity to lift others in prayer.
The late Sister Macrina Wiederkehr, writing in Seasons of Your Heart, said she used the first 15 minutes of her day to sip a hot drink and pray for “all my favorite strangers.”
She named friends, associates and acquaintances. But she also allowed the Lord to take over the list. Sometime God would prompt her with names of strangers and others she knew. Even faces whose names she didn’t know, like someone from the grocery store, the airport or the streets.
Lifting these faces up in the morning was a great start to her day. Others have used the nighttime when the bedside lamp is off to review the day and lift up everyone they met. Both are lovely habits.
Make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not seek
So much to be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love with all my soul.
For it is in giving that we receiving.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Nilsen suggests taking a verse a day and using it to apply to your behavior in your relationships. How can you sow light in the darkness with the people you meet today? How can you sow hope?
I saw the One who is sitting on the throne, holding to his breast what looked like a lump of black and filthy clay as big as a human heart, decorated with precious stones and pearls.
Hildegard of Bingen
Hildegard of Bingen was a Renaissance woman in the 12th century. Such a thing was hardly possible. But she did it.
An aristocrat and an abbess. A composer and an author. She wrote “A Book of Simple Medicine” as well as four books on animals, three books on gems and metals, and two books on plants and trees.
She also saw visions that she wrote down. Centuries later, she was named a doctor of the church for her contributions to the understanding of theology.
This particular vision shows God the father clutching a filthy piece of clay that represents all of us. We all know what the filth is. It’s all our terrible decisions and selfishness. The pearls and gems are the souls that Jesus reclaimed.
When you are struggling over a loved one whose is lost, remember that God is clutching them tight to his chest.
A movie about Hildegard is available on Amazon Prime for free here.
It’s easy to adapt a common practice in secular mindfulness — the STOP practice — for Christian mindfulness. You really only need to change one aspect … the P … adding a process that also starts with P.
Here we go:
S for Stop what you are doing, saying or thinking.
T for Take a deep breath. Or three.
O for Observe what is happening. Inside and out.
P for Pray for direction and Proceed with a kind heart.
The STOP practice is basic as it allows you to return mindfully to the present moment and seek the presence of God there. For you are a reactor by nature, STOP will help you to respond thoughtfully and in alignment with God’s will.
For more information about how Christian mindfulness exercises are different, click here.
Do you have a strong desire to know Jesus more intimately, love him more fully and follow him more wholeheartedly?
Do you want to live with an internal awareness that God is in you as you live, move and have your being, and to find God in all things?
Are you willing to follow Jesus in good times and bad?
Are you open to having your theology and image of Jesus challenged and expanded?
Warner’s retreat includes daily exercises for at least four weeks. He also suggests that you have a spiritual director. Many are doing Zoom meetings in the pandemic. So you can find one by asking your church leaders or searching online by typing spiritual direction and your town. Be sure the director shares your faith.
At the time he wrote this, Fr. Ravier had been conducting retreats for more than 30 years. He designed the book for “those who want to sincerely place themselves face-to-face with God so as to order their lives along his loving designs.”
We can use the time at home as fall deepens to deepen our own spirituality. Try a retreat!
I’ve learned a great deal from Teresa of Avila, a woman of courage, wit and wisdom. She reformed the Carmelite order and became the first woman to be named a doctor of the church for her wisdom.
In her day, Teresa’s wisdom was doubted so much that she was called before the Inquisition. Her life was based on a intimate relationship with God walked out in mindfulness.
Here’s five things that Teresa has taught me. I’ve read her writings, but find much wisdom coming from “Let Nothing Disturb You: A Journey to the Center of the Soul with Teresa of Avila.” It’s from Ave Maria Press’ excellent 30 Days with a Great Spiritual Teacher series.
Let us not forget to whom and in whose presence we are praying. If we were to live a thousand years, we would never fully understand how we ought to behave toward God. In God’s presence even the angels tremble — they who can do all that God wills.
Trials are heaviest for those my Father loves the most. Trials are a measure of God’s love.
Nothing can be compared to the great beauty and capabilities of our soul. However keen our intellect may be, we are no more able to comprehend the depths of our soul than we are able to comprehend God, for our soul has been created in the image and likeness of God.
If God is pleased with you, whoever resists you — whoever they may be — will be utterly disappointed.
The whole foundation of prayer is humility. The more we humble ourselves in prayer, the most God will lift us up.
Similar in structure to his “Celebration of Discipline,” Foster divides the types of prayers into three categories:
Moving inward: Seeking the transformation we need. This includes the prayer of the forsaken, examen, the prayer of tears and formation prayer.
Moving upward: Seeking the intimacy we need. It covers the prayer of adoration, prayer of rest, sacramental prayer, unceasing prayer and contemplative prayer.
Moving outward: Seeking the ministry we need. Prayers include intercession, petitions, healing prayer and the prayer of suffering.
I’m not alone in treasuring this book, which proves that our prayer lives can always grow. The book won Christianity Today’s Book of the Year and the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Gold Medallion Book Award. It’s rated 4.6 stars on Amazon.
It’s a book to use as a resource, to ponder, to experiment with. More resources to help in your Christian mindfulness journey are found here.
As the United States considers the need for restitution for peoples who have been mistreated, I hope we provide support for the native Americans. I was actually on the Seneca reservation yesterday. I pray that the native Americans will not have to use our nation’s craving for cheap cigarettes and gambling to support themselves in America’s future.
I pray that we can help them with infrastructure to lift the nations out of poverty so they can live the lives they choose with dignity. I pray we will help with health care and education. We have a terrible track record for violating agreements and treating them as less than human. I pray for change.
I’d also like to offer a native American prayer for meditation today.
Great Spirit Prayer
Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind, Whose breath gives life to all the world. Hear me; I need your strength and wisdom. Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise so that I may understand the things you have taught my people.
Help me to remain calm and strong in the face of all that comes towards me. Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
Help me seek pure thoughts and act with the intention of helping others. Help me find compassion without empathy overwhelming me.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy Myself.
Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.