Matthew Kelly offers six processes for prayer. Last week I wrote about taking time to thank God for whatever you are most grateful today. Second, process is awareness: Revisit the times in the past twenty-four hours when you were or were not the best version of yourself. Talk with God about these situations and what you learned from them. How does the Lord reach out to us? Using a daily examen written by Fr. George Aschenbrenner, SJ., can help you with the second step of prayer – awareness. How and where am I aware of God in my daily life?
Did I feel drawn by the Lord anytime through the day through a visit with a companion, a particular event, reading a good book of any genre, or experiencing a moment in nature like a sunrise or sunset? What drew me through those moments? Next, how did I meet the Lord in my fears, any misunderstandings, work, joy or suffering? What have I learned about the Lord and His ways through the ordinary situations of my day, or even in stray moments, daydreaming?
How did the Word of God come alive to me today in and through my prayer time, reading sacred scripture, reading the daily Mass readings, or the liturgy if I go to daily Mass? How has the Lord moved me from excessive self-interest to confidence and trust in Him? How did I move from my plans, programs and ways, to His ways and His will? Am I more aware of the Spirit’s leading in and through inspirations, feelings, movements and even impulses? In what ways have I been a sign of God’s presence and love to those with whom I work, to those with whom I live, to my friends, to my family and to the people I’ve met today? Were there moments of compassion, tenderness, forgiveness, understanding and patience? Have I felt moved to go out of myself in concern and interest towards the lonely, the sad, the discouraged and the needy?
When I am aware of what is going on all around me and the reflections going on inside of me, I may gain a greater awareness of God’s actions, promptings and presence in my daily life. Discovering that God is with me throughout the day through reflection, short and/or long pauses either at the beginning, middle or end of the day gives me room for pause and a greater sense of gratitude. With the Spirit’s help we can become more aware of God’s grace and presence in our life and in our prayer. Included in these questions is the next step:
Significant Moments, more the next time…..
Blessings, Father Larry Hendel