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Because I’m not very good at praying

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

January 22, 2020

I have a confession to make: I’m not very good at prayer.

At least I’m not very good at the type of prayer in which you sit quietly, tell the Lord what’s on your mind and listen to what He has to say to you.

My mind wanders. I’m distracted by every little noise, moving object or smell around me. My brain is constantly moving to all the things I have to do, all the things I wish I had said in certain conversations/moments and the things I hope or fear will happen in the future.

But I desperately want to pray, and I want to develop my relationship with the Lord. As a result, I’ve had to work to develop strategies and practice ways to pray that help me focus.

I’ve discovered what works best for me is practicing Lectio Divina (Latin for “Divine Reading”), a practice that incorporates Scripture into my prayer life, combined with prayer journaling.

I start by just reading a passage of Scripture, usually the daily Readings. The first time I read it, I’m just reading it for overall meaning. Then, I read it again, this time focusing on the language used. What words are repeated? What types of descriptions are being used? Are there any repeated themes/styles of language?

Then, I reflect on the text. Do any passages particularly strike me? What do I think God is trying to say to me in the Reading?

Finally, I just sit with those ideas for a few minutes, and I write them down.

The practice holds my attention. It gives me something concrete to do, which prevents my mind from wandering. Most importantly, I almost always find some takeaway from the sacred text, something I feel God wants to say directly to me in that moment.

As I considered Pope Francis’ proclamation of Sunday as a celebration of the Word of God, I reflected on the fact that the Bible is more than just the story of our salvation. It’s God speaking directly to each one of us.

And that is certainly prayer.

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