What’s your prayer personality? Are there activities that help you engage in prayer?
For a long time, I believed the only real way to pray was to have “quiet time.” I was sure that real pray-ers went into a bare and silent room, far from any accessories and distractions, and engaged in long, silent conversation with God. I am just not wired that way. When I sit in the bare, quiet room, my mind goes in a hundred different directions. I start praying, and the next thing I know I am making my grocery list in my head, or trying to remember the name of my third grade teacher.
I am a kinesthetic learner, which means my brain is wired in a way that makes me more engaged when I am touching, holding, doing. That includes prayer. So, quiet, contemplative prayer is not for me. Writing my prayers works well because when my hand is engaged, my brain and my heart seem to go along. I often pray with beads, or with a simple wooden cross in my hand. Touching these things helps me calm my spirit and listen to God speaking to my heart. Sometimes I light candles, and often I knit a few rows on a prayer shawl while I pray. These activities help slow me down and connect me to God’s presence. On a recent retreat, I had one of the best prayer times of my life as I sat next to a river and threw pebbles into the water as I prayed. “Lord, thank you for…” Splash. “God, help me with….” Splash. “Jesus, please heal…” Splash. When I paused to listen, the splashes and the action of tossing the pebbles helped keep my mind clear of clutter so I could hear God’s voice.
Recently, Pastor Laurie found a book that is perfect for pray-ers like me, Praying In Color, by Sybil MacBeth. Ms. MacBeth explores a style of prayer that includes “doodling” with colored pens and paper. The exercises in her book are opening up a whole new style of prayer to me, and showing me once again that there are many, many ways to engage in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
What kind of learner are you? If you are an auditory learner, then perhaps music or prayers spoken out loud are prayer tools you can explore. Are you a visual learner? Praying in Color might open up new possibilities in prayer for you, too, as might praying with icons or reading prayers and scripture. Maybe you do your best praying when you walk, dance, stand, or all three!
Isn’t the variety in God’s creation, and in God’s people, wonderful? I invite you to explore your prayer personality, and let us know about prayer styles and tools that work for you here on the blog.
— Jennifer Creagar
Administrative Assistant for Prayer and Congregational Care