Be Still

One of the things I most look forward to over a long weekend, or over a holiday break, is the opportunity to really get into my reading. I love reading, although during normal seasons of working life find it hard to focus on a particular book, or to get through enough of a chunk of a novel to make me stick with it.

Over the weekend I read through a book on Prayer because it is an area of life that I have been struggling with over the last few months. Actually I should qualify that by saying that it has never been something that I've found easy, it has always been something that I have really had to work hard at to get any sense of routine or indeed sense of "connectedness" in. I have found prayer easier in seasons of life where I've lived in closer Christian communities than I do now, or when I am more focussed on my faith walk, and to be honest that is not a season I am in at the moment. For a variety of reasons the last few months have been very trying and challenging, and in those times I move away from prayer rather than closer to it.

The book that I read had a variety of points to make, and one that stood out for me was a reflection on Psalm 49:10 – "Be Still and Know that I am God". The writer makes the point that this passage is often quoted in song but very rarely understood for what it so clearly is – two instructions.

#1 = Be Still. How often do we actually do that in daily life? When do we stop and switch off from the distractions of the world, and indeed those distractions in our own heads, to genuinely "be still"?

#2 = Know that I am God. No questioning, no pondering, just certainty in 'knowing". How do we get that certainty? By trusting. By spending time in prayer. By focussing on the things of God rather than those of daily life.

Another way to read it is as one longer exhortation – i.e. "if you would just be still you would know that I am God". A great encouragement in prayer.

What do you do that helps you to be still?

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    Comments: 19

    1. Rubyshine June 5, 2014 at 8:48 pm

      "Be Still and Know that I am God" is one of my favourite phrases that I often find myself reflecting on.

      I am yet to make prayer a part of my daily life but I view it as any other beneficial thing that you might aim to make a part of your daily routine, like exercise or good eating that it's a matter of building the routine. (When I discover how to do this I'll be sure to let you know ;-)

      I do however, aim to get to weekly mass at least half an hour early. It gives me quiet time to pray and reflect. Our parish also has adoration once a month that I try and spend at least an hour at. I was slightly amused when my priest mentioned that it was good I was at adoration when I could be at home making dinner or what have you, the inference being that it was a sacrifice to be at adoration, when in fact it's a time that I look forward to and am very protective of.

      One of my challenges is that it can be 20 -30minutes to tune out the day and to relax into some serious quiet time. So I often prepare for adoration by finding scripture and bible stories that link to whatever is most on my mind that month.

      Another challenge is that I need to be away from the house to have any serious prayer time because I get distracted by small children and piles of laundry and things get cut short. But finding ways to have prayer time that isn't intrusive on family time can be a challenge. My husband is an atheist, and my own journey of faith is very new, so it's important to me to take things gently while creating a new normal in our family and home.

      I've had my own difficulties recently, and although I haven't been more drawn to prayer, it has made me joyous in my faith. Your post, however, has reminded me of the importance of prayer in everyday life.

      Whatever troubles you've been facing, I hope you can see an end in sight.

       

    2. bamac June 5, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      Rubyshine,

      Have you heard about the Morning Offering?   By offering your day to God,  everything you do becomes a prayer …the washing ( uggh) cooking , care of the children all of which is part of your God given vocation isn't it .   By offering to God in the morning al lyour work ,joys, sorrows and sufferings to God you are praying … as St Therese said somewhere , ( I think it was her) even stooping to pick up a pin to save someone's footcan then become ab act of love for God .

      . I have found that a word to God or Our Blessed Lady from time to time in the day might grow on one as it has over the years for me … it is God who will encourage you in this I have found .  I find now that I often send a smile His way when i find myself doing something a bit odd in one of my many senior moments … what a marvelous gift God gives us with the gift of a sense of humour when we can laugh , particularly when we aim th laugh at ourselves … amsure that God smiles too..

         You and your young ones are often in my prayers.

      God Bless,

      Mrs Mac

    3. Rubyshine June 6, 2014 at 9:49 pm

      Hi Mrs. Mac,

      I've never heard of a Morning Offering, but it's such a beautiful idea, that I will definitely be incorporating it into my day.

      Thank you for your suggestions, and for your prayers, they are much appreciated.

       

    4. Werahiko June 7, 2014 at 4:36 am

      Boanerges I think your Psalm ref should be to 46:10. 

    5. Boanerges June 7, 2014 at 9:27 am

      A digital chocolate fish to you Wera for spotting the "deliberate error"   ;)

    6. Teresina June 7, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Yes, Rubyshine, exactly as Mrs Mac says the morning offering prayer used to be standard for everyone – especially when going to school or work and time in the morning is at a premium during the week, the morning offering said thoughtfully covers everything.  It is a prayer to memorise:

      O Jesus, through the most pure Heart of Mary,
      I offer You all my thoughts, prayers, works,
      joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions
      of Your Sacred Heart, in union with all the Masses being offered up throughout the world, for my sins and for the sins of the whole world, and for the intentions of the Holy Father.  Amen.

    7. bamac June 7, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      We can include our sorows along with those offerings….

      and also include a special intention with the intentions … maybe for someone else , for a special grace that we ourselves need ,  for our priests or the Holy Souls or whatever.

      Mrs Mac

    8. banter June 9, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      I also haven't heard of the Morning Prayer.  It makes me wonder how many other things haven't I heard about that were once so commonly part of Catholic practise.  And now only those of the pre Vat II era remember it.  How our culture is disintegrating and disappearing!

      And it is such a beautiful prayer, such a beautiful idea.  So I will also incorporate it into my day as well from now on.

      It is just as well we have mrs Mac and Teresina to remember these things.

    9. bamac June 9, 2014 at 9:38 pm

      Banter,

      We have lost so much .   Teresina said something about the church in some parts will be hard to recognise as being  Catholic … ,  at 78 years young I already find it so much that way already in some places and in some liturgical changes and general behavior in Church on Sundays …. I don't think that I am alone in feeling that way .

      God Bless,

        Mrs Mac.

       

    10. Teresina June 9, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      Banter, yes, it is sad that these things have disappeared:  Common prayers at the start of the day were: morning offering (as above); prayer to our Guardian Angel (morning and night):  Oh Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here, ever this day (night) be at my side to light and guide, to rule and guide, amen; three Hail Marys.

      If you go to Mass, after communion the Prayer before the Crucifix.  I always say my old childish prayer:

      From Thy cross, sweet Jesus, look tenderly on me, 

      place within my loving heart, faith, hope and charity,

      give me sorrow I implore, give me grace to sin no more,

      five great wounds are holding Thee to Thy weary cross for me.

      I will love but Thee alone, for my sins I will atone,

      here I see fulfilled in Thee David's words of prophecy, they have pierced

      My hands and feet, they have numbered all my bones (followed by an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be).

      That's a very important indulgenced prayer that everyone should say after communion before a crucifix.  There are of course more adult versions but I remember that simple one of my childhood.

      Night prayers: act of contrition, prayer to the Guardian Angel and Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give You my heart and my soul. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, assist me in my last agony. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I breathe out my soul in peace with You.

      A lot can be found here:

      http://www.ourcatholicprayers.com/aspirations.html

      Banter, we can't say all these prayers of course but one or two that you feel drawn to.  These days some people make fun of memorised prayers but said sometimes it is easier to put all your heart and your soul and your love into these prayers, especially when your feeling unwell, with flu or something, to be able to repeat a holy prayer is very beneficial I find!

    11. Don the Kiwi June 9, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      Yes Mrs Mac.

      I was speaking to a good priest the other day, and told him of my thoughts in relation to recovering/rediscovering many of the things in the liturgy and praxis in the Church that have almost been lost. He is one of the few priests in our diocese who says the Latin Mass once a month here in Tauranga, but he is not here any more.

      He said that whenever he goes to  a new parish, he doesn't make any immediate changes – except that he puts the tabernacle back into the church in the sanctuary. He says its an insult to our Lord to stuff Him away in a back room, or away from the centre of worship. Needless to say, he is not happy about the location of the tabernacle in our Cathedral in Hamilton. I sugested that we should start promoting Masses "ad orientem" – which he agreed with.

      So there is hope that the Church will become vibrant again, and that in recovering much of what has been discarded, our worship can translate to that deeper level – to the mystery – which I and others in the – shall we say senior – membership of the Catholic Church remember with such a sense of loss.

      Oh to hear some beautiful Gregorian during Mass again – the Missa Cantata…………..

    12. Teresina June 9, 2014 at 10:13 pm

      Yes, Don, to hear some beautiful Gregorian during Mass again – we do sometimes have it at Mass here in Hamilton and it is a great blessing.  I am sure that is why many Catholics have left and gone searching elsewhere.  Mrs Mac was certainly right to bring up the Morning Offering because it starts the day right and can be said on the bus or anywhere.  All the little aspirations we can say on and off throughout the day especially if we're in a bind help to keep us close to God all day!

    13. bamac June 9, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      Yes Teesina, it is hard to pray when we are feeliing unwell or are i pain but by a simple few words to God we can offer Him the sicknes or pain that He is willing us to have .. our sickness and/or pain becomes a prayer  … goodness knows how many souls God may help through our acceptance of that gift from God … be it one that we would not have chosen for ourselves…… my old brain is tired so I hope that made sense …. everything can thus be turned into a prayer when we accept and thank Him for all the joys and pinpricks He gives us each and every day

      Apologies for any bad spelling … I am rather renowned for it .

      God Bless,

      Mrs Mac

    14. Teresina June 9, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      You're not alone in that Mrs Mac, looking back at some of my garbled posts – but everyone seems to know what we're trying to say!  God bless you, Mrs Mac :)

    15. bamac June 9, 2014 at 10:26 pm

      One of the nuns I loved in my early school days suggested to us that when ever we travel on a bus, tram ( I wish !!!) boat or car we could say the prayer from Fatima " my God I believe, I adore ,I hope , I love Thee, I beg pardon for all those who do not believe nor adore nor hope nor love Thee… maybe we would be the only one who would ever offer a prayer for some of those travellig with us or those passing by as we travel along …. being more or less housebound now days I say one for planes passing overhead and cars and such passing nearby… as for any time you happen to hear a siren  of any kind ( I often wonder if I am the only one who ca never tell the difference in the difference in the sound of different sirns on the road!!)

        Good night and God Bless,

      Mrs Mac

    16. Teresina June 9, 2014 at 11:33 pm

      That's lovely, Mrs Mac.  When I pass people in the street who sometimes look down or depressed I offer a prayer asking God to help them in whatever way they need.  Often in my work I come across reports of people who have suicided or died suddenly and I will pray for them.  I am sure those prayers for planes and cars are divinely inspired because the thought comes seemingly out of the blue and who knows what way you help them and who knows who may also pray for us that we never know!  Good night to you too and God bless, Mrs Mac.  We can never say that enough!  I found out that if you do a colon followed immediately by a bracket you get a smile or a frown depending on which bracke you use :(    :)  :)

    17. Teresina June 9, 2014 at 11:33 pm

      The smile didn't work :)

    18. bamac June 10, 2014 at 10:15 am

      Maybe that smile didn't work  but the smile on your face did!   Thank God for the gift of a sense of humour  which makes us smile or laugh at ourselves from time to time instead of getting all screwed up with frowns and tension    I give me so many laughs that way for sure … O dear! I have just read what I typed ,   should I have used the word screwed?   How many more words will we lose to those who call themselves GAY  ?

      Good Morning and God Bless,

      Mrs Mac

    19. Teresina June 10, 2014 at 11:00 am

      Thanks, Mrs Mac, I did enjoy your post and it's brought a smile to my face this morning that's for sure!