Surviving suffering | 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 still 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: Surviving suffering
This journey of life is filled with such beauty at times. We could all do with slowing down and appreciating that beauty more often. Too often, we allow it to pass us by without recognition.
We do sometimes catch it, though. Sometimes, we realise we are in the presence of beauty and we allow ourselves to freeze time – to stay in that presence. In those moments, we are conscious enough to really experience beauty. While these moments may not come very often, when they do, they are often very emotional.
They connect us to a central truth that no matter what suffering there is in the world (and there is suffering in this world) and in our lives (there is and will be suffering in our lives), there is also beauty. We cannot explain why it is so, we can only accept that it is so. This acceptance thing is hard to do. However, in accepting suffering, we are also free to accept, and savour all the more, the beauty we see and experience in the world.
Try praying for others: hold close to your heart in prayer all those who are suffering at this time; hold close to your heart in prayer all those who are sick; hold close to your heart in prayer all those who do not or cannot see beauty in their lives at this moment.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Romans 8:35 (NIV)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
Isaiah 53:4 (NIV)
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
1. What is the beauty now in my life?
2. What is the suffering in my life?
3. Can I see the beauty beyond suffering?
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.