I’ve always found it hard to pray. Time and time again I use to tell poeple “I’ll pray for you”, but I never got around to actually doing it. When I did get around to doing it, my mind would wander off. Do you relate, or am I just on my own here?
During the first COVID lockdown, I trialed an ancient form of prayer known as the Daily Office (or Fixed Hour Prayer). In a tumultuous time in the world, this prayer practice grounded my soul in a profound way.
The basic concept is to pray morning, mid-day, and evening set prayers at the same times every day. There are all sorts of fixed prayers to experiment with, some of which can be found in the book of common prayers. For me, I love praying scriptures.
At the moment my Fixed Hour Prayers involve the Lord’s Prayer (8:50am), Romans 12:12 (12:12pm), and praying for small group of people at 4pm. You can substitute different prayers and different times that work for you. I know even use this method if someone needs prayer about something specific – set a daily alarm and commit to pray for that person every day for two weeks (or whatever time frame feels right).
Some scriptural prayer ideas:
The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
The Jesus Creed (Mark 12:30-31)
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
Fruit of The Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”
The Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26)
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”