A Weekly Prayer Booklet for Personal and Family Devotions
There are many ways to pray and to spend time with God. We are encouraged through God’s word to “pray always,” but we might also think of this as encouragement to “pray all ways.” This blog post, based on a prayer booklet that I offered to my congregation, offers one such way to pray. (You can find a pdf of this booklet here: Poems, Prayers, Psalms, and Promises.) The emphasis in this booklet is on simplicity and repetition, two elements that I have found helpful in my personal prayer life. My suggestion is that you use these prayers each week, and let the words become more and more familiar, even as they speak to you in new ways. I have intentionally included some of our most cherished psalms, as well as some of our most familiar passages from scripture.
I encourage you to read these words slowly and prayerfully, and if a passage causes you to pause, do so. In a booklet written by Martin Luther called “A Simple Way to Pray,” he writes: “Make room for such thoughts, listen in silence, and under no circumstances obstruct them. The Holy Spirit himself preaches here, and one word of his sermon is far better than a thousand of our prayers.”
I have also included a poem for each day, and you may wonder why. In her book, “When Poets Pray,” Marilyn McEntyre points out that “Poetry and prayer are closely related. Even poems that make no pretense of broaching the sacred invite us to look closely and listen to words, to notice how they trigger associations and invite the mind to play with meaning, how they summon feelings that take us by surprise. Poets slow us down.” My hope is that these poems will slow us down in this way, and help us to listen for God’s still, small voice.
Along with an order of prayer for each day of the week, I have included an order of prayer for evenings at the end of the booklet. Praying in the evening, in addition to the morning or other time of day, is a wonderful way to begin and end each day with our Lord. The evening prayer is also intentionally simple and easy to pray through.
This booklet is offered with the prayer that it will provide a simple way for you to pray through your week and deepen your walk with our Lord. And my prayer, too, is that all who use this booklet will be daily reminded of the promise in Scripture that “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
In this blog post, I thought I would share with you the prayers for Monday. Here they are:
Monday – The Peace of God
Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. All things are changing. God alone is changeless. Patience attains the good. One who has God lacks nothing. God alone fills all our needs.Teresa of Avila
Opening Psalm: Psalm 46
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. ‘Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.’ The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Scripture Reading: John 14:27
Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
Silence for reflection and prayer.
Devotional Poem: The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Closing Prayer: The Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.