Night Prayer

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As the day draws to the night

I thank you God for the many experiences of today

the people I have met and

the conversations have had.

I thank you that yet again

You have shown me your presence,

for you bring hope into a world full of insecurities

for you bring peace where conflict and challenge prevail

Lord, Bless those who have journeyed with me this day

those who have laughed with me

those who have cried with me

those who have listened to me

those who have just been happy to be in my presence

Keep me safe in the stillness of this night

may you also keep all those who are dear to me secure

may I rest in your presence while I slumber

may your angels guard me till I wake

 Amen 

 

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Closeness of God … Come down O Love divine by Fernando Ortega

I have just returned for a short break … hence the lack of posts!!. No holiday for me, however my eldest daughter got married, and it was a wonderful occasion. As a single parent, I remember wondering how my daughters would ‘turn out’ as they are both very different in looks and character. As a young Mum, I can recall standing in the front room of dingy flat and shouting and being frustrated with God, wanting to God to sort everything out!! Yet, looking back I was never without a job, and always had food on the table. Now watching my eldest daughter walk down the aisle, and being asked to preach at her wedding …was a great privilege…. So Thank you Katharine.

She had wanted to walk down the aisle herself, and we had discussed it at length, and she … being a fiercely independent woman…. wanted it to be done her way. I felt as a Mum, a little put out with her decision, , but seeing her simple white dress, and string of pearls, coming through the chapel door, I had done my job , as a parent , confidante and friend . As she slowly walked, I sense she was struggling , being overcome with emotion, so when she had walked half way …..her fiancé put his book down and walked to her, steadying her, as they walked up the aisle together.

There is something profoundly theological about this, for she had been searching for God, wanting to be close to God… and I recalled many deep theological conversations we had till 3am over a bottle of wine … Yet in this man she had found the heart of God, a companion, a friend, a lover …someone who has shown her what Love and being Loved  is all about.

It was right that he walked her up the aisle … not me. I had done my part, as a mother  I had nurtured her , and asked God to help me in caring for her , now God was bringing another dimension of Love for her to experience.

I still pray for her to experience the closeness of God, and for the Holy Spirit to reveal herself in new and creative ways to the both, as they journey together in this life.

This Fernando Ortego song is for them, words by Bianco of Sienna in the 15th century and music by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Spice Prayers .. A for Awake

night prayers

A couple of years ago, I wrote an collection  of Prayers relating to my emotions and feelings of each day. It helped me to be positive through a physically difficult and painful time. I kept these private, yet recently sense that God, is urging me to re-look at these again. I called them SPICE Prayers.

SPICE is used to give flavour to food. On occasions it is subtle, mellow, a gentle reminder that the spice is there, not exactly hidden but gently tickling the taste buds.Other Spices are strong, pungent, some make our mouth on fire!. We know its there, we can feel it, taste it and some people can visibly see the effect it has on our body. It provokes a reaction !!

‘Like the different Spices we have in flavouring our food, Prayers can be digested, reflected on, and can be used sparingly or liberally, depending on how we are feeling about life and our relationship with God.

Some days we want to rejoice and thank God for the wonders and beauties of the day, however other days maybe stressful and difficult. Whatever the day’s experience, it is good to know that God is with us, holding us, caring for us, and strengthening us.

A   ………. is for Awake

Lord I thank you for a new day,

With all of its expectations,

hopes and dreams.

As I wake from my slumber,

I thank you for the night’s rest I have had;

That you have kept me from harm,

and that I face a new day

knowing I am loved and treasured by you.

Loving God

Enable me to feel your presence

as I walk and talk throughout this day,

whether it is at home, work, rest or play.      

As I gaze at the sunshine

it reminds me of the brightness of your light in my life;

As I see the wind rustle the trees and shrubs,

it reminds  of your Spirit breathing through all Creation;

As I see the drops of water pour down from the sky,

it reminds me of how you drench me from head to toe with

your love .

All this you offer to me, each and every day

Amen.

St Ignatius…. The Examen

I find ‘Spiritual Direction’ vital to my ministry, indeed I feel that anyone who is serious about their relationship with God, should have the opportunity to reflect, and ponder how to deepen it with a Spiritual companion/accompanist /director (depending on which word your feel most comfortable to use).

Many years ago I used Ignatian Spirituality help me focus on my prayer life, and my director at the time advised me to use the EXAMEN, an aspect that I still use to this day. I hope you will find it a useful response to help you as we all journey through life with the Living God

 ignatius of loyola

St Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) is the founder of the Jesuits. He used prayer as a means of centring on God. More than any other prayer, The EXAMEN is the central prayer of St Ignatius. It is a prayer of looking back. It is not just reflecting on what has gone wrong, but a wider look at what has happened during my day – the good things and the bad things – trying to see where God has been moving. The Examen is best used regularly. Most people find it helpful in the quiet time before going to sleep. It takes about 15 min.

The prayer covers five points.

  • No matter what I am worrying about ….STOP!  God is with me – quiet perhaps, but always there. I remember that God has created all things. All I have is a gift from God. Is there something I would especially like to give thanks for today?
  •  I ask God to shine his light into my heart so that when I look back over the day I may be able to see God working in the things that have happened.
  • Now I remember through the day starting from when I woke up. I remember the people I met and the things that have happened.

–      On the whole , was is it a “Good” or a “Bad” day

–      Was it a normal day, or unusual in some way?

–      Whom did I meet during the day?

–      Was there something surprising? …A long lost friend …or and awkward old enemy?

–      Does something special come to mind :…a beautiful sunset…something I was told….something on TV.

God guides us through our moods and feelings. Normally God’s way is (in a deep sense) peaceful and consoling. If your day was disturbed or if you were uneasy, can you sense where the uneasiness was coming from?

Like a sailor buffeted by different winds, we are affected by many different feelings. The better we come to know these swirling breezes, the easier it is to see the perhaps subtle movements of God in our lives.

  • An important question to ask is: What can I be proud of today? (there will be things . If you can’t think of anything then you haven’t looked hard enough!)

–      I will give thanks for this.

–      But also, did I turn away from God during the day? Maybe I turned a blind eye when it suited me ? Did I recognise God in that homeless woman, that annoying child or that spiteful old man?

–      I will say a prayer asking for forgiveness for anything I may have done to ignore or hinder God’s love during this past day.  will ask especially for the graces of healing and strength.

 

  •  The final part of the prayer is to look forward to tomorrow. We are people of hope. Let us remember that God will be with us then.

The Examen is a prayer which helps us become aware of the presence of a loving God, and helps us move into a position where we can look more closely at how God has been moving and working in our life.

The focus the prayer is God – in the case of the Examen, God may appear to have been deeply hidden (or in heavy disguise perhaps) but God has been there nonetheless. Our task is to simply notice.

 

Prayer

Teach us, good Lord,

To serve thee as thou deservest,

To give and not to count the cost,

To fight and not to heed the wounds,

To toil and not to seek for rest,

To labour and not to ask for any reward,

Save that of knowing that we do Thy will.

St Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)

Prayer… hints and tips.

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Over the last number of years, I have never ceased to be amazed at how prayer can be answered, although often it is in the way we least expect it!!

Prayer is something of a mystery. (p.s thanks to Jason Ingram for reflective  artwork )

We don’t know exactly how it works but we can pray corporately in church if we are church attenders, as a small group or friends praying spoken or silent prayer, or as privately as individuals, yet in faith we pray!!

I often find that I am praying ‘on the hoof’… let me explain. Sometimes I can pray in the car driving to a meeting or a visit, asking God just to be with me and the situation that I will find myself in ; sometimes I can pray while on the phone being a listening ear to someone’s pain and hurt, other times I can be gardening thanking God the world we live in , or listening to the news on the TV or radio, to the  Suffering and Injustice, or the Joys and laughter. Jesus often spoke about prayer He gave examples of prayer, of occassioanly seeking solace, of discussing what prayer is , and even instructing his friends with what words to say.

I am no expert on Prayer, but prayer has been my companion through difficult times and joyous ones

Here are some hints and tips that I have used to help people in their prayer life

  1. Prayer is the means by which we can deepen our relationship with God. It is like a telephone line, and when we pick up the phone we have a one-way trunk call to God.
  2. Prayer is not just talking to God about people or situations for which we have concern; we also need to give God time to speak to us … and that means we need to listen as well.
  3. Prayers can be said anytime during the day or night…whatever you are doing.
  4. If it is helpful, praying can be done alone quietly in a room, or as a group.
  5. 5.   I doesn’t matter too much about the quantity of people praying, but what does matter is the quality of prayer … it needs to come from the heart.
  6. If we are serious about our relationship with God then we must be serious about prayer.
  7. Sometimes we may know individuals who cannot pray because they are bereaved, depressed, or ill. It is up to us as disciples of Jesus, to pray for them on their behalf. We should pray for God to bless them and give them strength and an inner peace.
  8. Other times we may see issues in the media, e.g. conflict, injury, and global disasters. Here we should pray to God for guidance, and wisdom.
  9. We must remember that God knows our hearts before we even ask, so even if we struggle to find words to describe what to pray for, God is there already.

10. Stick with Prayer.. even if you feel as though it’s a waste of time !! God never gives up on us !!

God that breaks bounds of time and space

In our prayer life Lord sustain us ,

when the words are hard to find ,

With your gentle Spirit ,

enfold us with your grace

as we open our hearts to you

Amen

New Year Prayer

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Lord , as we come to the end of 2012 ,

Attempting to break through the emotions that have held us fast during the past year

we recognise that 2012 has been filled with many experiences,

some happy

some sad,

some celebrations

and some frustrations.

We pray that as we stand on the cusp of a New Year

you would transform

our fears into opportunities

our regret into optimism

and illuminate our lives with grace, hope and love.

Amen

Hymn to sustain our Prayerlife

Lay your healing hand upon me,

When my heart seems all alone;

Give me Strength, through Prayer and Praise

Accept the Love, that you have shown.

 

In my prayer life, Lord sustain me,

When the words are hard to find.

In your stillness, come be near me,

Tenderness to fill my mind.

 

When the world around is hurting,

and the pressures fill my time.

In my service and my witness,

Prayer enriches life, in kind.

 

On life’s journey, still my mind-

my heart, till I am one with you.

Then in one with all Creation

Hope and Love will bring me through.

 

©Words Ruth Dillon

Tune Servant song 8787