Prayer is a healthy and powerful part of an active faith life. It can also be mystifying or even intimidating without an individual or a community coming alongside and help us learn how. It can be hard to know where to begin or what words to use.
Public and liturgical prayers often use lofty and poetic language that can feel unnatural in personal prayer.
And, then, there are those of us who are more drawn to prayers of movement, prayers beyond words.
There are as many approaches to prayer as there are individuals, but it can be hard to get started and questions of whether or not one is “doing it right” can rise, too.
Knowing these truths of our experiences with prayer, I have shared all kinds of ways to pray over the years. I don’t expect that every form will resonate with every person and become a part of their regular practice. I share knowing that different forms speak to different people at different points along their journey.
Sometimes we need to pour our hearts out in words before God; other times we can’t begin to form words. Sometimes anxiety or personality drives a need for prayers with movement like walking prayers or coloring prayers or prayers of dance. Other times the frenetic qualities of life lead us to crave the peace of silence and stillness.
I hope that Pr. Zorn and I have (and continue) to help provide people with a wide “vocabulary” of forms of prayer that you can use to grow in faith and to call on in times of need.
This month, I offer another “letter” for your prayer lexicon as I recently learned about a prayer app (and website) that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE and cannot recommend more highly.
The app is designed to help facilitate prayer according to the Ignatian tradition of spirituality.
Here’s what I love about it:
I have found the daily guided meditations to be a great way to start the day. I often listen and pray before I get out of bed. Then, I’ll use one of the examen sessions in bed at night just before going to sleep.
I love the daily guided meditations, but I have found the evening examen sessions to be the most powerful personally as the Examen asks you to recall your day – who you interacted with, moments of high or low emotion, blessings you were given, etc – and see where God has been at work.
There are so many blessings and sacred interactions that would be lost to memory if not for the Examen. I don’t always see God’s hand in the moment something is happening; it’s easier to see at night in the recap of the day. Themes emerge over time, giving one a sense of what God is speaking in our lives. And, above all, the Examen anchors a deep sense of gratitude for life and God’s blessings.
So, I encourage you to check it out! It is one more part of a prayer vocabulary that you can use to help facilitate prayer where you are.