BREATH PRAYER: FATHER, transform my heart in this ordinary time.
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you
and give you peace.
- In a journal, note the day, time, and place you’re sitting.
- Open with silence. Set a timer for 1, 3, or 5 minutes so you can be free to rest and breathe deeply.
- Complete the following sentence in your journal: Today, I feel ________________.
- Read the centering verse above slowly (aloud or silently).
- Pause for a few moments of silence, then pray this week’s breath prayer.
Yesterday we took a family trip to the grocery store. Two adults, three kids, and fifteen items on a list. On the way in, we noticed the store’s new “scan, pay, and go” feature and decided to try it. The concept is simple: using a store-provided device, you scan the barcode for each item you want, then stick it in the bag. At the end of the trip, all that’s left is to pay for it. “This will be fun,” I thought as I grabbed the scanner. But if you’ve ever been to a store with kids, you know how the story ends.
Why did she get two turns with the scanner and I only got one?
Where do I scan this lettuce?!
I want to put it in the cart. NO, I want to put it in the cart!
Take those tortillas out of the cart – we didn’t scan them yet!
We spent the entire trip bickering at each other, captivated and consumed by one more electronic device. Our faces downward, we passed neighbors and strangers, locked in on a quest for the next barcode. On the way out of the store, I mentioned to my wife, “They should turn that into an app so we could use our phones instead of their scanners. Then it would be even easier next time!”
How easily we let our lives orbit around technology, missing the faces and experiences all around us. It doesn’t seem like it should be so hard to slow down, to unplug, and to really connect. Yet it is one of the great practical and spiritual challenges of our time.
Jesus calls us to lives of connection, lives of community. As one body, we are invited to really see one another, to share the truth of “where we are” with one another, and to form a life of honest interconnectedness. When we look someone in the eye, we can’t help but bring our full, unfiltered selves to that moment. Our faces betray all attempts to conceal whatever joy, fear, or shame we may be trying to hide. Allowing ourselves be seen and known requires effort and courage, but it is here we see God’s heart for us through the eyes of others.
Today, consider someone in your life who you need to really connect with face-to-face. It might be a spouse, a neighbor, a colleague, or a kid. Perhaps there is an honest but difficult conversation you’ve been dodging. Maybe something has been eating you up and you need to confess it to a trusted soul friend. Or it could be a loved one you’ve under-appreciated of late.
Pause now, and silently wait as you trust God to bring a specific person or situation to mind.
If you’ve been avoiding an in-person conversation, why is that? Are there deeper issues at play, like fear or pride or control? Allow God to examine your heart around this conversation.
Partner with God’s leading by asking how you can practically connect with that person in a meaningful way.
Summary: Write in your journal a brief summary (five sentences or less) of your practice
Closing: Father, transform my heart in this ordinary time.
If you are unsure how to begin listening for God’s voice and leading in your life, listen to this message by Larry Green, given at the Parish. Feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com for more information or help with these practices.