New life, dying and rising | Preparation Pray
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: New life, dying and rising
Getting a new life seems so simple in the adverts: a new supplement, juicer or exercise machine promises a new body, energy and zest. If only it were so simple. The experience of many of us is that life is difficult and challenging and presents us with seemingly impossible situations of conflict, exclusion and hopelessness.
In fact, when we look back at those key moments of change, new life and genuine happiness in our lives, we notice that they were preceded by difficulty and burden to the point where we felt that we were dying, which is not a pleasant feeling. Things frequently have to get bad before we turn to God. There often has to be a death and dying (the Cross), before the new life of the resurrection is possible. Our lives often follow this cycle of dying and rising. Trying to control it is futile – we have to give ourselves to God in these moments.
Then we are thrown back on the only solid foundation we know – Jesus’ experience on the Cross. It reminds us of the great love Jesus has for us in these tough situations, even if we don’t feel it right now, and how we need to ask him to take our burdens and trust that he will transform them.
This is not an easy prayer but it reminds us of our desperate need of God, that we need to hand these situations over to God, and that it is only by the power of the resurrection that impossible situations get transformed. It is a lesson in humility, patience and pleading.
Try this meditation: Picture Jesus on the Cross and experience his great love for you personally. Give him your troubles and struggles, holding nothing back. Talk to him about your situation as one friend to another. Trust that God can work even in seemingly impossible situations.
Luke 24:5 (NIV)
The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the angels said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.
John 7:38 (NIV)
And let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’
Romans 6:4 (NIV)
Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
1. What are the moments of ‘dying’ in your life?
2. What are the moments of ‘rising’ in yoru life?
3. Where has God been present in these?
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.