Awaken us to the Oneness of all things, to the beauty and truth of Unity. May we become aware of the interdependence of all living things, and come to know You in everything, and all things in You. For as we attune to your Presence within us, we know not separation, and joy becomes our dwelling place.Excerpted from Psalm 106, Nan Merrill, Psalms for Praying
To practice Christian mindfulness is to know the love of God all around us at all times. Keeping ourselves focused on God demands trust in God’s grace. But it also requires awareness and commitment on our part.
This has been an effort for even the saints. One of the great Christian prayers was written by Patrick of Ireland (387-461). It’s a long prayer, and the most famous part reads:
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.Patrick. Words translated from the Gaelic by Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander, 1889.
In Ephesians 3:18-19, Paul writes: “I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” I pray that for all of us.
Give us, O God, the vision which can see Your love in the world in spite of human failure.
Give us the faith to trust Your goodness in spite of our ignorance and weakness.
Give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts.
And show us what each one of us can do to set forward the coming of the day of universal peace.
Frank Borman, member of the first crew to successfully orbit the Moon and return to Earth.
American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote the famous Serenity Prayer in 1932-33. People immediately loved it. Niebuhr used it in at least two sermons around 1943 and included in a 1951 magazine column. Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step programs adopted it and gave it the title “Serenity Prayer” in 1955.
The prayer for the 1930s and 1940s seems to have included its initial … and most famous … verses. The request for “courage” did come before the request for “serenity” in the early versions.
By 1951, the prayer had two verses, which are both beautiful to pray:
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Take some time today to sit with this prayer as we seek wisdom in the pandemic.
Lord, help us to see that our well-being is inextricably bound to the well-being of our neighbor. Our sorrows are shared. Our longings are shared. Our fears are shared. Enable us also to share compassion, patience and courage today. Amen.Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and Enuma Okoro
The breath prayer is a common practice in Christian mindfulness or contemplation. A variation that helps during a pandemic or just daily life is to ask for the grace, knowledge or virtue you need at this moment in the prayer.
When you feel frightened, overwhelmed or unsure, sit or stand quietly for a few seconds. Then start your breath prayer. “Come, Lord Jesus” or “Come, Holy Spirit” work well if you want to create a prayer.
Inhale saying your breath prayer. Then exhale naming what you need, such as:
Come, Lord Jesus. Bring me patience.
Come, Holy Spirit. Grant me the wisdom to deal with this.
Come, Lord Jesus. Let me feel your peace.
Come, Holy Spirit. Speak through me.
Quite a few of us are praying about COVID-19. I have a long list of people, groups, causes and places I love, which I pray for every day. The Lord has recently been prompting me to find a quieter way to pray inside His will.
Instead of having a long list of what I think SHOULD happen, I am just lifting up the individuals and the groups to God for His will to be done. I am no longer Mrs. God, handing the Lord his honey-do list.
After all, as Psalm 139:4 says, “Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, Oh Lord.”
God knows what we need. The purpose of prayer is to help us grow closer to God and to understanding His will. Just lifting up a person or a cause before the Lord and asking that His will be done is enough.