When I woke up this morning, I had my mind set on writing today’s blog about prayer. And of course, today presented me with a thousand reasons to pray. And of course, I often forgot to pray. I wondered to myself, “how can I write a blog about prayer when I can’t even remember to pray myself!” Like everything, it’s a work in progress (as am I).

Several years ago, I had a very powerful dream about prayer. In this dream, I was surrounded by angry people. They were getting angrier and angrier, yelling and scowling. Somehow amidst this furor I remembered to start praying. I started saying the first prayer that popped into my mind, the Our Father. As I prayed, I began rising. I rose and rose until I lifted up into the clouds and was in the end surrounded by happy people hugging me and smiling. It was an affecting dream that I remember vividly to this day.

Though it was just a dream, it was a parallel for my real life. My prayer saved me from the negativity I had been bombarded with. It’s during times like these, when we are confronted with that which we are not, that prayer is so important. Prayer connects us to our hearts and to the heart of God. It reminds us of who we are and why we are here.

I find prayer especially important during times when I’ve lost my way. When I’m surrounded by sadness, depression, or difficulty, prayer rings out like a bell leading me back home. Some of my favorite prayers are simple, and many of them are made up. I will say something along the lines of “thank you God for being with me,” or whatever feels right in my heart. I also like to pray for others by sending them love and saying simple prayers for them. 

I love prayer because it is a simple and effective way of lifting back into God’s love. Prayer can open your heart and your life.

Starting Your Day

It’s helpful to start your day from a centered place. It can seem insurmountable- but it doesn’t have to be. If you have a lot of time in the morning, allot some of that time to a morning ritual that helps you remember who you are and why you’re here. If you don’t have a lot of time in the morning, just five minutes is enough. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated. It can be a simple prayer.

In the mornings it’s very easy for me to slip into “stress mode” trying to get my daughter ready for school and get us both off to work and school. On those mornings an outsider looking in would see a hectic, stressful circus: my husband and I quipping at each other, our daughter running around, the dog barking, all of us scrambling to eat breakfast. And I know our lives are easier than many – we only have one kid, and we are not struggling to put food on the table. And yet, getting centered for a new day takes some time and sustained attention.

I have several techniques I try to practice in the morning, before I even get out of bed. I say thank you to God for another day and say any prayers that come into my mind for that day. I focus on awakening love in my heart by centering my attention on my heart and breath and feeling love arise. I also like to remember the dreams I’ve had the night before and reflect on them. If I have more time I will read a devotional and practice yoga, drink lemon juice, and have some coffee. Most of the time, I just manage the coffee, but each day is different, and each day is a new chance. 

What is your favorite way to start the day?