We all have our own way of praying.
I’m 100% a morning person. So when I wake, I tend to jump from bed, throw open the shades, turn on the coffee, and repair to the living room sofa where I have my candle, incense, breviary ET CETERA.
I need to surround myself with others. So I am all about the angels, the Communion of Saints, the Mystical Body, Mary, Joseph, and the Holy Trinity.
I’m also a crab, a self-pitier, and a judger. So I like to start off with a few prayers to the Heavenly Host, namely:
“Holy Archangel Raphael, arrow and medicine of the love of God, inflame we implore you, our hearts with burning love, and let this wound never heal, so that we may be unfailing in love in everyday life, and overcome everything through love.”
Then the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Some people say “wander,” others “roam:” I like the phrause PROWL about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Then, to cover all the bases, because I, for one, need all the help I can get, I made this one up:
“Holy Archangel Gabriel, celestial messenger of God, overshadow us with your wings, call us to bring new life into the world, and when we say Yes, with Mary, bear us up on your pinions and grant us the mercy, grace, and courage we need to persevere to the end.”
it goes on from there. Morning Prayer from the Divine Office, that day’s liturgy and reflection from Magnificat magazine. I often putter around in between, maybe saying the Angelus while making my bed, or praying for individual family members while filling the hummingbird feeder, or reciting the Just for Today bookmark put out by Al-Anon.
At some point I just sit silently, drinking in existence and not thinking of much of anything.
I also like to have a bit of “spiritual reading. For example, I just went back to Jean-Pierre de Caussade’s Abandonment to Divine Providence and read it slowly, a page or two at a time.
I doubled over laughing at this, my favorite passage. Because at the end of the day, this is kind of how it goes. We never know whether we’re “progressing” or whether we’ve been treading water for decades. Lately, I find I don’t much care. Whatever is happening, I’m alive, observant, and grateful.
“Oh! how we are brought to perfection by this hidden activity of which we are both the subject and the instrument, though we know nothing of it, for all we do seems to be the result of pure chance and our natural inclinations. Everything humiliates us. Whe we are actually inspired to speak, we think we are uttering only our all-too-human thoughts. We never know what spirit moves us, we are terrified by the most undoubtedly divine inspiration, and whatever we do or feel fills us with endless contempt for ourselves, as if our whole life were flawed and faulty. We always admire other people and feel vastly inferior to them, and their whole behavior makes us ashamed of ourselves. We mistrust any insight we have, place no reliance on our own thoughts, but pay excessive attention to the most trifling advice from others, if it seems good. God seems to keep us at a distance from all that is virtuous, only to plunge us into a profound humility. We do not think this humility is a virtue, but see it is the judgment of God.
What is really astonishing is that to those who have not been enlightened by God about the true state of affairs, we seem to be obstinate, disobedient, troublesome, contemptuous and angry.” [italics mine]
—Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence, trans. John Beevers, pp 93-94