Today I thought I would share my morning prayer ritual with you. It is nothing special just morning prayers. However, you will notice I use the name “Universal Divine” rather than “God”. As I have gotten older, and hopefully a little wiser, I have learned that there are so many paths to light and love that one name just does not fit for me anymore.
My Ritual is divided into 2 major portions, Prayer of intention, and Prayers of Petition with silence separating major division. I must admit on occasion I use a singing bowl at the beginning of each period of silence which seems to draw me deeper into myself. This is also a standing prayer, which is how it started out, but as I get older, I do think I will be doing more sitting than standing. These old legs and knees are not up to it on some days. So, If you want to model a ritual after mine do not feel it has to be a standing prayer.
Blessings be to one and all.
Prayer of Intention
Universal Divine I stand before you As I came into this universe Come Your Presence, fill my heart Come Your Presence, fill my mind Come Your Presence, fill every cell of this clay vessel
Divine Universal May my voice be your voice May my hands be your hands May the words and deeds I send into the universe be your words and deeds.
Prayers of Petition
Blessing be to John the beloved Blessing be to Lisa the soul friend Blessing be to Louis the soul keeper Blessing be to Esmerelda the joy bringer Blessing be to Charlie the snuggler Blessing be to George the friend of years Blessing be to Sweet pea the bringer of song
Blessing be to friends Living in pain and ill health May they be held in the light and be healed
Blessing be to leaders Living in the dark May they find their souls and return to the light
Blessing be to leaders yet to come Living in the light May they find strength in the light and not waver from the path
Blessing of the Earth Blessing of the sea and sky Blessings of love and light and peace Blessing of the Universal One now and forever be with us all
While I was traveling in April I carried a small book with me by Mark E. Thibodeaux, SJ titled Reimagining the Ignatian Examen. On our sea days when I would sit on the deck of our cruise ship and watch the ocean go by I various meditations for my daily prayer time.
Thibodeaux’s book takes the traditional Examen and includeds a specific focus to use within the prayer practice. There are 34 different themes and I discovered a number of them to be very helpful for me as I sat in stillness. Over the next several months I will occasionally offer one of the meditations from the book for our Prayerful Tuesday. As today follows Memorial Day when we honor those who have died in service I would like to offer the meditation for Gratitude.
First let me offer a few hints from the book to get you started.
Keep it short. Keeping your Examen under 15 minutes will keep your prayer in the moment and a reminder that this is a check-in with God that reorients your toward the Divine.
Skip to the good parts and don’t get hung up on sin. You only want to dwell on the steps and you want to get to the point rather than linger for an extended period of time. Nor do you want to dwell on all the things that have gone bad or at least you think have gone bad. God has the facts you don’t have to bore him with a lot of details.
Sometimes, break all the rules. If you feel like it, skip over parts of the Examen you don’t feel you need to do or change them around.
Experiment with different ways of journaling. Tweet-sized, or drawing, or video yourself dancing. Do whatever moves you in prayer.
Keep it prayerful. Keep the prayer God centered and don’t let your meditation drift into your shopping list or your latest aggravation. Extra hints: A. ask God to take the lead, ask God to do your Examen for the day; B. Talk to God instead of yourself; C. listen for God’s voice, sit in silence for a moment and let God enter you
Here is how I began and closed my ritual, you may choose something totally different that fits you and the place you’re in spiritually right now:
I stand still for a moment and let my mind quiet.
I repeat Micah 6:8 as I sit down
I place my hands in my lap, palms up, in a gesture of being open to God’s love and grace
I slow my breathing and clear my mind, sitting very still for a moment
I welcome God in to my heart and spirit
Then I begin my Examen
I take several very deep breaths as a way to bring myself back to moment
I place my hand on heart and repeat Matthew 28:20b
I journal for a short while before rising from my chair.
Note: I change scriptures from time to time, substituting poetry and prayers. Remember nothing is written in concrete.
Examen theme of GRATITUDE
Begin in your usual way
Ask God to reveal special blessing in your life this day. As yesterday was Memorial Day, ask God to also reveal the special blessing you’ve received from someone you loved who has passed on.
Ask yourself ‘what am I grateful for today? “Who am I grateful for?’ Name the person(s) gift and offer the following “Lord, I am so grateful for your gift to me of _____.” Repeat this as many times as you need to
Relish each gift in turn, letting them warm your heart. Using prayerful imagination see, feel, hear, touch, sense the gift again
Let the gifts you have received dance in your memory offering your gratitude to God for each one. Offer the following; “Thank you Lord for (neighbor, family, laughter, shared meal, etc.)
End in your usual way.
I truly enjoyed Thibodeaux’s focuses on my trip, they helped me retain a pilgrim attitude to the whole trip and I hope you find today’s focus helpful as much as I did.