How difficult it is sometimes to become still! The world, and our lives, certainly mine, are so full of busy-ness. There doesn’t seem to be time to stop and think. And when we do find the time, we can be so distracted by our cares and concerns; the mind appears to go round and round in circles.
I have written before of the practice of repetitive prayer in helping us centre on God, especially the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner”. There are other phrases which may be helpful for this purpose: the refrain we use in Liturgy at Home, “O come to my heart, Lord Jesus. There is room in my heart for thee”; from another hymn, “Jesus, my Lord, I thee adore: O make me love thee more and more”; from the Psalms, “Be still and know that I am God”, or “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless God’s holy name”.
If prayer is sometimes a struggle, as it often is for me, begin by setting say 10-15 minutes aside. It may be helpful to light a candle, or focus on an icon or crucifix. In the first few moments, think of one thing for which to give thanks, one for which to be sorry, one person or situation to pray for. Breathe deeply in and out, choosing one of the phrases above (or something similar) to repeat in your mind in time with your breathing. You may find that with the repetition and the focussed breathing, your mind is stilled. You may then be drawn into a deeper awareness of the presence and mystery of God, and so able to open your heart more deeply to him. At the end of the prayer time, you may offer any further intentions which have come to mind. Then close with the Lord’s Prayer, and/or “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”
Download the service booklet here: Liturgy at Home Epiphany 5 February 5 2023