Praying through Advent: Imagining Shepherds and Angels

As we pray our way through Luke’s narrative of the birth of Jesus, today we meet the shepherds who encounter an angel announcing the birth of Jesus. We are only praying with three verses from Luke chapter 2, so it will be up to your imagination to create all the action here!   The Practice [Read More…]

Praying through Advent: Praying like St. Francis

Here’s a prayer for busy people in the busy season of Advent. It’s easy, portable and has a beautiful history. Francis of Assisi (13th century) never set out to found an order. He simply wanted to restore an old church in his town and to live as Jesus did—as a wandering preacher with as few [Read More…]

Praying through Advent: Healing Prayer

While everything around us screams “holly, jolly Christmas,” this Advent season is not  joyful for everyone. Many of our friends and family seek healing of the mind, body and spirit. The best way we can help is to offer healing prayer for them. There is no one way to pray for healing. I like this [Read More…]

Praying through Advent: Praying for Others

Want to give a really meaningful gift to someone this Christmas? Pray for them.  You don’t have to tell them you are doing it. Nor do you have to forgo giving them a material gift if you really want to do that. Begin to think of intercessory prayer (praying for others) as part of your [Read More…]

Praying Through Advent: Focusing Prayer

You’ve probably heard people say “your body has wisdom.” And maybe you’ve wondered how to tap into that wisdom before the body gets cranky and pitches a pain fit. Focusing prayer is a great way to step back from holiday stress this Advent. This prayer allows your body to show you what optimal health feels [Read More…]

Praying through Advent: Praying Questions

Advent invites us to embrace the mystery of incarnation—God’s action of dwelling in and among us. Because so much of our faith involves mystery, it can be helpful to acknowledge that and sit with it, even if it is uncomfortable. We can pray with this holy discomfort. We can pray our questions. For this practice I [Read More…]

Praying through Advent: The Daily Examen

This Advent, why not keep your eyes open for evidence of God’s love and action in the world? The motto Jesuits live by is “finding God in all things,” and the way to do that is to examine your own daily life for the activity of the Spirit. Ignatius of Loyola—founder of the Jesuit order [Read More…]

Praying Through Advent: Imagining the Nativity

We began the Advent meditations with the gospel of Luke’s version of the flight of Mary and Joseph from their home while Mary was pregnant. Today we’ll re-enter this story as the time comes for Mary to give birth. Once again, use your imagination to enter the scene. It’s a short passage, so spend time [Read More…]

Praying Through Advent: Prayer of the Heart

Prayer doesn’t have to be all that wordy. Early Christians used to pray, “Come, Lord Jesus,” to express their deep longing for Jesus to return and be among them in physical reality. This practice is designed to help us create those prayers that are as close to us as our very breath. The beauty of [Read More…]

Praying Through Advent: The Jesus Prayer

As we focus this Advent on the coming of Jesus, why not pray one of the most famous prayers in the history of Christianity—the Jesus Prayer? You will find a version of this prayer in the Gospel of Luke’s story of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The tax collector is praised by Jesus for [Read More…]