• 1. The Glory of our being | Preparation Prayer

    In order to be really present to today’s prayer session, let’s take a little time to prepare ourselves. This will involve quietening ourselves literally and figuratively. Firstly, find a good place to pray. If you are confined to your room, there’s not much choice. But remember, prayer is about real connection and not just perceived perfection. So find yourself in the best place you can.

    Secondly, get in touch with what needs to be quietened in you today. You could think about three sites- your head, your heart and your body.
    Notice what is going on inside your head. What are you thinking today and how does it differ from yesterday? Don’t get caught up in any thought in particular. Just notice how your thoughts are.

    Notice what is going on inside your heart. What are you feeling today and how is that unique to this day? Again, don’t allow yourself to get too caught up in any feeling. Simply notice your feelings.

    Notice what is going on in your body. How does your body feel today in comparison to yesterday? Notice the sensations you have- comfort, discomfort, pain, tiredness, restfulness.

    Begin, now, to notice your breath. Perhaps breathing is difficult today. If so, go gentle and breathe as well as you can. As you do, acknowledge that each breath, however laboured, is a sign of the gift of life within you. Give thanks to God for this gift.

    As you sit, breathing and giving thanks to God, allow your body to become heavy where you sit or lie. Allow a sense of quietness to come over you. This may take a few minutes. Stick with it until you feel ready to proceed with our prayer session for today.

  • Prayer theme: The glory of our being

    This rather wonderful photo is a piece of bark from an old tree that stands tall in the Falls Park in Belfast. On the outside the bark was pretty rough looking. It was weathered and gnarly and a bit dull.

    However, as you can see here, on the inside it has smoothness and colours that are at once subtle as well as striking. Who would have thought that the brown bark would have had purple, pink and orange tones inside it? I find it beautiful.
    On the outside, the bark appears bumpy and chaotic, but what is apparent is that on the inside it has a complex shape and structure. It is ordered for its purpose of allowing the tree to grow from its heartland, its core.

    Funny thing – having seen its true nature from the inside, we now have a different way of seeing the outside of the bark too. We can’t not see its true interior nature now. As a result, we see that it’s beautiful both inside and out.

    Do you know someone who feels a bit like the outside of the bark? Are you that someone yourself? If so, what do we learn from the picture of the inside of the bark? What would we tell that person or even ourselves about the nature of ourselves?

    So many fail to see the glory and beauty of their inner being. Many people get caught up in the messiness and imperfection encountered in life and in themselves. That messiness and imperfection can be mistaken for failure, ugliness or even a reason to hate.

    When we’re in that mode, we fail to see how complex, well ordered and smooth we are at our heart and core. We have been created and are still being created daily. Not only that, but the One who creates us loves us and wants to be in dialogue with us. It is possible to take our feelings of messiness and imperfection to our Creator and to understand that our Creator is with us even, and maybe especially, in those times. When we do, it is possible to reconnect to the beauty within, to the purpose of our lives, to the glory of our being. Mediate on these words: ‘I am beautiful – inside and out. I am glorious at my core. I have been created and created well. I can love me and love all.’

  • Scripture

    Isaiah 43:1 (NIV)
    But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

    Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
    For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

    Songs of Songs 4:7 (NIV)
    You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.

  • Reflection questions

    1. How do you feel about yourself?
    2. How does God see you?
    3. How would you live if you truly accept you are loved?

  • Closing Prayer

    Lord Father God, thank you for this time of prayer that I have undertaken, united with all others who are praying this day.

    I am also united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, burning with love for all creation. In this unity I sit, one of many and one of your beloved.

    I ask for the continued help of your Holy Spirit as I end this time of prayer to enter back into the business of my day.

    Help me to take the lessons I need from this prayer time today. Help me also to leave behind me anything that I do not need to take with me.

    Above all, help me to know that I stay connected to you at all times and that I only need to pause, breathe and pray to become deeply aware of this.