I didn’t meant to have this be the only post this week, and I also didn’t mean it to be early (again!). Alas, I stopped and started every day this week, and ultimately got angry deleting 3 different posts I started. Probably a bad idea. Wouldn’t be the first time.
I thought an early post would be good for Tiffany, since she asked for prayers – she’s heading out to Maine to visit her sister. This is the first flight where she takes her 8 year old son with her (and leaves her hubby and 3 year old at home.
I struggled with how to order this, not to mention which ones to include! Should the rosary be at the numero uno spot, or should that be the last one I discuss to keep it at the forefront of your mind. How can I argue? Pick any one of these and you’re golden. So without any further ado, and in no particular order, here are some ways to work your way out of a prayer rut!
Rosary To pray the rosary is to hand over our burdens to the merciful hearts of Christ and his Mother. I didn’t say that, Saint John Paul II did. Sometimes when I pray the rosary it’s because I need the next word. I need to know that I have the next bead already planned for me. Lately, I’m coming to the notion that I prefer boundaries and rules. I feel safe within them. I don’t feel confined, but protected. When I pray the rosary, I know that my mind can do whatever it wants (because it doesn’t listen when I tell it to pipe down) because I’m all about my rosary time. Speaking of which! This one is on it’s way to me. It’s a Blessed Theresa of Calcutta rosary from Rosaries by Allison. Tiffany got one with pale green beads and since we are doing a special novena this month, I had this one made to match #twins. It will be here Saturday!
Chaplet I’m not a big chaplet prayer person, but I know that Tiffany is. I do have a St. Michael the Archangel chaplet in my car as well as an Our Lady of Guadalupe chaplet on my nightstand. Those are the only ones I go to really. And that’s when things get tough. Chaplets show devotion to a particular saint or aspect of Jesus and / or the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Novena These are insane prayer powerhouses, because you’re so focused on your intention. Most times the prayers for any given day just so happen to speak to *your* specific and personal experience. I am currently praying the 54 Day Rosary Novena. It’s pretty simple really, for half the time you pray the rosary in petition to God for your intention, and the latter half you pray the rosary in thanksgiving – all for 54 days consecutively. I pray the rosary daily anyway, so to tweak and focus on particular intentions is a great way to change things up. There are a TON of different novenas to all kinds of saints, aspects of Jesus’ life and / the Blessed Virgin Mary, causes like a Novena for Impossible Causes, and my favorite, Novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots.
Spiritual Reading Nothing beats spiritual reading. I love anything written by St. Francis de Sales. I am working my way through the novice modules for lay Dominican formation, so my spiritual reading has been as pure as the daily readings. I keep my Magnificat with me and when I boot my laptop in the morning, I read over the scripture readings for the day along with any reflection that good ol’ Rev. Peter John Cameron, O.P., Editor-in-Chief chose to include that day (there’s the Dominican flavor!)
Liturgy of the Hours These are prayers that I pray daily (just the Morning and Evening ones, I’m a mom not a nun!). It’s a set of prayers prayed throughout the world by the religious – they have to pray them. As a lay Dominican, I am only supposed to pray the Morning and Evening prayers. I use the Divine Office app and listen to it. It opens with a hymn and now that I am familiar with the music, I can sing along. It’s nice to offer your day in the morning. Again, something about not having to be solely responsible for #allthethings, and speaking that, because sometimes we need to say it out loud or it’s never really internalized.
Daily Examen I find that I have a hard time going to sleep unless I’ve done this. I feel like my day is not allowed to close without a proper examination conscience. I don’t make a big deal of it, and in fact do this in the shower before bed. I figure, I’m washing the day’s funk away, may as well clean my soul at the same time. The examen is simple, so simple that you can quickly gloss over it. I’ve written about this extensively when I first started blogging and again in April. Basically, you start at the very beginning of your day and count all the blessings you’ve received, list off your big-ask prayer intentions, bring to mind all that you’ve done wrong in the day – and believe me you have, pause and take time to remember that He loves you anyway (I visualize a big hug. What can I say? I’m a hugger) and close with a promise to try again tomorrow. Isn’t that awesome, simple and perfect in the shower? Here’s another tip, if you had a bad day, you can cry in the shower and no one will have to know. You can get your cry on, your sad on, your whatever on, but as soon as that water goes off, you’re done. Tomorrow is another day!
Confession I was told by a Dominican friar that I should get myself to confession once a month. Confession! I am a month overdue. What? I’m not perfect. However, confession seems like it’s scary, but it’s really not. As I’ve mentioned before, there’s no shame and most times, the responses you get will astound you: “Me too” and “You take yourself too seriously”. Maybe I just luck out and get really sympathetic priests, but I think you’ll find that it’s a deep clean of your soul, if we look at the Daily Examen as like a quick anti-bacterial wipe of the soul.
There are so many other ways to work out of a prayer rut that I didn’t mention here (Adoration, Lectio Divina, and praying for others come to mind!), so why don’t you tell me what you do to work out of a prayer rut? Or maybe share your favorite way to pray? Share in the comments so we can all benefit! Safe travels, Tiff!
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