a resource for this time of COVID-19 social distancing
By the Rev. Bruce W. Gray
Individual prayer is hard to define, since putting it into words begins to limit what it can be, and since it is communicating with God, the possibilities of prayer forms are divinely infinite. If we are praying only to ourselves, sort of talking to ourselves, we can easily get off track. But if we are vulnerable to God’s responses, than the potential is endless.
Four everyday suggestions I have for jumpstarting daily prayer. First is to pray for whoever and whatever is in front of you. As I drive, I pray for anyone with a broken down car, whether they are in sight or not. I also pray when I enter a place for the first time that day, that God’s peace may be on all who are there. I pray when I hear a siren, that those needing and those giving will be blessed. Finally, there is the traditional one of praying, usually silently, in thanksgiving for meals.
These ideas just scratch the surface of course, but I want to emphasize that we don’t have to pray only for huge things like world peace, though I do, but also for the situations we see or experience in the present moment. The more we do embrace that sort of prayer practice, the closer we get to that way of life in which we pray without ceasing.
The Episcopal Church has an almost overwhelming amount of resources to aid people in having a full and rich prayer life. Such a list of resources can be expanded greatly by including helpful works from other Christians as well as other faith traditions. Below are some links that might be supportive of a deepening prayer life. Richard Rohr is a Roman Catholic monk, and the Poetry Foundation is not religious, but I have found both helpful. The rest of the links are to Episcopal ministries of various types.
Episcopal Relief and Development Daily Meditations
Signs of Life Daily Meditations by the Order of St. John the Evangelist
The Rev. Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations
The Poetry Foundation’s Poem of the Day
The Daily Offices by the Mission of St. Clare
Daily Prayer by The Forward Movement
The Daily Office Online with various media