Wonder List #2
Prayers for the Middle Level
For much of my life, I thought prayer was one thing: an extemporaneous conversation with God that often felt one sided. I’d tell him my requests, and then sign off with an Amen.
Over the years, I’ve learned that that style of prayer is just one way to talk with God. In addition to incorporating various different components of prayer—praise, confession, thanksgiving, blessing, petitions, and intercessions—I discovered that I could also sing prayer, breathe prayer, sit silently in prayer, and even read or recite the prayers others have written. In fact, the Lord’s prayer that Jesus taught his disciples is a prayer I can use verbatim, or as a pattern for my own prayers.
Learning to let the prayers from the Bible or other Christians guide me in my own conversations with God has been an important part of my continued growth in prayer, particularly as I wrestle through the Middle Level of life. So for this week’s Wonder List, I present to you seven sources of prayers that you can pray when you don’t have the words yourself.
The Lord’s Prayer. Using the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray is always a good idea.
The Daily Office. I’ve been flirting with the Book of Common Prayer for years, but over the last several months, I’ve been praying through the Daily Office more diligently. This online version from the 2019 Book of Common by the Anglican Church of North America eliminates some of the confusion of flipping through the prayer book.
The Psalms. When you aren’t sure what to pray, the Psalms are usually a great place to start. This hymn book of Israel is a treasure trove of prayers that cover a range of emotions and circumstances.
Every Moment Holy. This is a book of prayers for the everyday occasions of life that you might otherwise not take the time to pray for: doing chores, hearing a siren, seeing a flower, etc. You can find some of these prayers online, but the two hard-bound volumes contain the whole collection.
Celtic Prayers. The Celtic Christians are the ones that inspired me toward a more vibrant spiritual emphasis on the Middle Level issues of life: things like home and work and errands and chores and child rearing and caregiving. These prayers acknowledge the everyday difficulties of life and bring a little transcendence to our ordinariness.
To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings. Like Every Moment Holy, this collection from Irish teacher and poet John O’Donohue helps readers through both the everyday and the extraordinary events of their lives.
Prayers of the Early Church. This book includes prayer from the New Testament through the first five centuries of the early church. A treasure from our mothers and fathers in the faith.