my prayer practice

I have wanted to share what some of my prayer practice looks like just to throw some ideas out there for anyone who is interested. I recommend reading Prayer Spa: Ancient Treatments for the Modern Soul as a helpful resource for anyone wanting further ideas on prayer practices. It’s a very short resource with some great ideas, things to think about, and things to adapt to what works for you.

preparation

The very first thing that I do is light incense, my current favorites are rose, nag champa and rose, and dragons blood. The second thing is that I “light” (turn on) whichever candle or candles I’m using that day, and chant the light of Christ, thanks be to God. The third thing is that I apply rose perfume to honor Mother Mary. I dip my fingers in the holy water, and make the sign of the cross.

prayers of penitence and repentance

There are several prayers I might choose for this, right now I’m using a prayer from Rite I from The Book of Common Prayer, it’s found on pages 62-63. Often I use the prayer from the Rite II Holy Eucharist service in The Book of Common Prayer and it’s found on page 360. There are several prayers in Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book also. So I use whichever I feel I need to at the time. If I am preparing to make a confession, I say some extra prayers while examining things I might need to put in that confession.

I have several prayers of repentance that I have personally written that I also use a lot. Sometimes during this time I also write a prayer of repentance that’s on my heart. As an addict I’ve learned the Serenity Prayer that I say every night without fail. I ask for the intercession of St. Maximilian Kolbe (patron saint of addicts) and St. Raphael (exterminator of vices) for my continued recovery. I also recite a passage from the bible here, right now it’s 1 Peter 5:8-9.

It’s after all this that I renew my baptismal vows which are found on pages 302-305 of The Book of Common Prayer. I have shifted to doing this every evening. I also pray the Anima Christi (the version found on pages 71-71 of Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book), and then I also pray a prayer a prayer commending or committing my soul to God (page 88 of Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book).

prayers to saints

I have a prayer by St. Benedict that I pray, one in which I talk specifically to St. Benedict, two prayers by St. Francis of Assisi, one by St. Catherine of Siena, and two to St. Michael. I also use this time to talk to St. Mary Magdalene, my patron, but with no particular prayers. I just have a conversation with her. I pray St. Patrick’s Breastplate in it’s entirety (not just the popular part) each evening also.

marian prayers

Once I’m done praying prayers by the saints, or asking their help, or just talking to them, I pray specific prayers to and by Mary. The first one being The Magnificat, and I wrote a prayer of Repentance for Generational Sin that was based on The Magnificat. It was an important step towards healing for me, in rejecting generational sins and patters of behavior and evils. But that kind of prayer isn’t necessarily a one time thing, like most things aren’t. I also pray The Angelus (pages 31-32 of Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book) as a reminder of the incarnation of Christ. The Divine Praises is next, and then The Memorae. I also just sit and talk to Mary and gaze up on my icons of her.

intercessions

After the Marian prayers are done, I do my intercessory prayers, using my prayer rope. I pray the Jesus Prayer, ten knots for each person I’m praying for, while thinking of them and what they mean to me and what their needs might be as I’m praying. I make the sign of the cross with every knot as this is how I understand the prayer rope is supposed to be prayed.

rosary, chaplets, litanies and the like

I almost always pray the rosary every day, and sometimes I pray on Anglican prayer beads that I have made with specific prayers I have written for them. I love the Chaplet of St. Michael and pray it once or twice a week. Sometimes I pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and the Litany of Saints, or litanies of a particular saint or angel. Of course none of these happen every day, though the rosary happens at least five days out of seven. The other things listed here are extras, or on the days I don’t pray the rosary, I definitely pray the Chaplet of St. Michael. Most of the other things I pray randomly as I feel the need or want.

reading and studying

Most days I also do some sort of reading or studying of the spiritual topics I am exploring at the time. Right now a lot of my reading has to do with blood atonement and suffering.

conclusion

I don’t always pray this all down the line at one time, but I do tend to pray individual sections all at once. I have children and are often interrupted with their needs, or I have to tend to some chore or task in a timely manner, or need to write down something that I have forgotten. When that happens, I need to write it down as soon as it comes to mind because if I don’t, I will forget it again. This also doesn’t take into account things like breath prayers or centering prayer which are grounding techniques that I can use when I’m anxious, and it doesn’t address prayers prayed randomly during the day. I want to attempt to pray some fixed hour prayers at some point soon. I also do prayers with my kids in the evening, where I bless them and then pray compline with them. These are just things that work for me.

I’m planning on writing about praying with icons, and sharing some more of the prayers I have written. I hope that some of the ideas here are useful. I’ve written some about the prayer altars I set up each day, and I also have some fixed altars, one devoted to Mary. If nothing else came out of this pandemic, I learned how to pray, and it has formed me and changed my relationship with Jesus, Mary, and the Communion of Saints.

Published by MaryClare StFrancis

MaryClare StFrancis is a writer who sounds as boring as hell but who is intimately acquainted with the horrific and the sacred. For a long time, darkness has been her friend, but she now walks in the light of Christ. As a committed Episcopalian, her main contribution to the church is her ability to make the priests facepalm or swear, depending on the day and context. MaryClare has a Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing and lives in Mississippi with her four children.

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