Simpler Praying

Simpler Praying

Today we welcome guest blogger Kathy Coffey. This comes from the “Living Simply” column in St. Anthony Messenger.

What are our stereotypes of prayer? They might include folded hands, written texts, and a reverent hush in church. Sometimes we don’t pray because we think we must meet all those complex requirements—and we never get that much quiet time!

Then imagine the scene at the Last Supper. There are probably several conversations going on; dishes are being passed; plates, bowls, cups, and forks are clanging. In the midst of all this activity, Jesus rises from the table, ties a towel around himself, and washes his friends’ feet.

His hands aren’t folded; they’re washing. He’s engaged in activity, not reading a book. He’s not in church, but in the “upper room” of a home, and it’s definitely not quiet. Yet how could we possibly say Jesus isn’t praying?

When asked how he prayed, the Trappist author Thomas Merton said, “I breathe.” He probably meant that prayer should be as simple and natural as breathing—or chatting with a dear friend. Each breath we take is God’s gift. Without it, we wouldn’t be alive.

In Luke 10:38-42, Mary simply sits at Jesus’ feet. He praises her for choosing the better part. If we know a person well, sometimes we can sit together in silence and still feel close.

Or we can say a few words to Jesus, as to a friend: Thanks. Sorry. Wow. Help! He’ll be delighted to hear from us. So don’t hide behind stereotypes and excuses.

Pray now—simply.

Prayer Exercise

1) Find a quiet place to sit. It could be in your car at lunch, in your yard, or in your bedroom.

2) Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths.

3) Focus on your breathing, expanding your stomach when you breathe in.

4) Each time you exhale, thank God for a blessing in your life—a good day, your home, your family, your health, etc.

5) When you are done, sit for a while longer and just enjoy the silence before heading back into your day.

Photo: Mykola Velychko/PhotoXpress


About the Author

  • wbua


    When this topic pops up,the Rosary should be pushed.Every cell in one’s body is
    profane:profane begets profane.But, one’s Rosary should be blessed,so that
    a person with a Rosary,can be spotted on divine radar.


    • Betsy

      I like that imagery of a rosary as being something that is “spotted on divine radar.” Yet, I have never considered that humanity in God’s eyes is profane. As we lose our connections with our Source, certainly we do get corrupted, though. I so love how the psalmist put it in Ps.139, that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” I love the Catholic teaching that we are made in the image and likeness of God. In prayer, we agree with God, we ask to be part of His mind and will and how He thinks. As we sink more into His presence, we recover from our profanity.

  • Betsy

    I like that 5-step prayer exercise. It helps bring prayer out of the picture of a dutiful mind task to be performed, and into the privilege of an intimate visit with a trusted Confidante, who waits for our attention.