Welcome: An Introduction

Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Getting Creative with Prayer

"Some families and communities find it helpful to have a prayer bowl on the coffee table or in the room where they gather to pray each day. Whenever someone asks for prayer, they write the request on a little slip of paper and put it in the bowl. Then when it's time for morning or evening prayer, each person can take a few slips of paper from the bowl and read out the requests during the time for prayers for others. This is also a good way to remember people we don't see everyday, like children in war zones, victims of human trafficking, or our political leaders."
            ~ Shane Claiborne, Common Prayer: Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

When I read that suggestion I couldn't help but find it a great way to keep prayer creative and engaging within a family or community setting. Sometimes when my family gathers together and it's time to pray, there is a silence that descends after the first couple of prayers are uttered. It's almost like some of our minds can go blank when it comes to our turn!

This especially can be the case when praying with a group outside of one's family. Have you ever been in a circle of friends or at a Bible study where there might be two people in the circle that have very much to say and pray about but when it comes to your turn you just run out of ideas! Well, ok, I'll admit I have! And its certainly not because there isn't enough to pray about! Our world is filled with sin and darkness, disease, war and suffering. If we don't know someone personally to lift up in prayer there are countless brothers and sisters across the globe and in our communities that we can pray for.  

The idea of having a community prayer bowl gives everyone the opportunity to get involved and not feel like they are being put "on the spot". For many that haven't been raised in families that have prayed together , or in churches, this puts pressure off of them and gets them active within the circle of prayer. The prayer bowl also allows a greater chance of new ideas and prayer suggestions to be interwoven in the time together and prevents a prayer request from being forgotten.

There are other suggestions for individual prayer that I've heard in the past that are creative and worth considering applying to one's practices. One such suggestion is creating a prayer closet, or a space designated for praying in solitude. In this sacred place for prayer, it's suggested putting pictures and other articles up to remind you of the things that you feel inspired to pray for. For example, maybe a picture of someone serving in the military overseas, perhaps just a word that inspires you to pray over a certain region or group of people who are persecuted. You can read more about this if you'd like here: http://ascendingthehills.blogspot.com/2011/02/sacred-places-creating-place-for-prayer.html

One of my friends responded to that post, on creating sacred places for prayer, and mentioned that she had made homemade prayer beads. (Thank you Debra!) I think that is a beautiful idea for prayer! I'm planning on making this a project for my kids and I to do together.  This is some of Shane Claiborne's suggestions on creating prayer beads:

For instance, create a chain of different-sized beads (or different-colored or different-textured beads) for various prayers. You might have a large bead for the Lord's Prayer. You might have seven rough beads for praying against the seven deadly sins-pride, envy, lust, anger, gluttony, greed, and sloth- and you might have nine little ones for the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galations, so that you can rest on each one and pray that it would take root and grow like a seed inside of you- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
                                  ~ Common Prayer: Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals,p. 292

We have a God of unceasing imagination. We just have to look around at Creation to reaffirm us of that reality! The life that surrounds us, with it's brilliant hues, sounds and textures pulse with God's love and affection for the world and children He created and continues to create. Since our God is full of imagination, let's also be! Prayer should never be dull but an active devotion and expression of love towards God. Let's come before Him in prayer with thirsty hearts set on Him. Let's be creative in our methods and find ones that speak to us and help us enter His presence more readily.

Is there a way that you pray that is unique? Would you consider any of these methods or already practice them? Please share in the comments section!


  1. Jessica, I love the 'prayer bowl' idea. My prayers are continuous throughout the day, never-ending discussions that I have with God. I've never been one to do 'formal' prayers, have always been ongoing sharing in my mind. Did that make sense???

  2. Mary, that's beautiful...it makes complete sense. I love continually praying throughout the day but find also gathering in fellowship edifying and in those moments "formal prayers" have their purpose. The beautiful thing is there is so much diversity in the ways in which we can communicate with God and express our devotion, praise and supplications before Him. That's why I love hearing from everyone...as many as there are people there are ways to opening up to God's presence :)

  3. Good Morning, Jessica:
    As Mary said above and as I've mentioned in my blog, my own conversations with MY God are continuous as well. I don't even stop and think about what I want to say or pray or communicate. I simply look up and start talking. Just like HE was standing right next to me. I don't feel there should be a special place, a special time to pray. If we are all divine, and God is divine then we should be communicating ALL the time.

    Reach out! HE is ALWAYS there and just waiting to hear from you. Don't wait for a particular time. Don't look for a reason. Just start your conversation. God would LOVE to hear from you.

    Be Well! Be Happy! Be Positive!
    Blessings to you.

  4. Thanks for your thoughts Chris :) I've written many articles about centering prayer and finding God in our everyday moments. I do see the importance and the natural nature of continually communing with our Creator. I also think, though, that moments of time set aside in prayer help many get into the habit of this continual mode of communing with God. I know the more I've been meditating and have been touched in my innermost corridors of my heart by God's love, the more I've found myself praying throughout the day.

    I read a book throughout the day called "the Divine Hours", which combines liturgy with prayer and hymns. This doesn't replace my dialogue with God but it helps anchor me in His presence, drawing my attention and devotion back to Him when my mind wanders..which the mind is sure to do. (In Buddhism they call this having a monkey mind ;) ) And for sure, our human minds are fallible and stray. These times of prayer can help be the anchors we need, especially for those who are new to the thought of conitnually praying in their waking moments.

    ~peace :)

  5. wow! It's like a 70's swingers party. Just leave your keys in the bowl and hope for the best..lol

    You are gorgeous BTW... love coming here


  6. lol thanks ...A...a little confused..but thanks for stopping by! :)
    ~blessings and love

  7. That is a wonderful and very creative idea! Have a great day Jessica!

  8. Thank you Nelieta, so glad you enjoyed it! Blessings to you and yours :)

  9. I do like the prayer bowl idea as well, but as a couple of comments mention, ongoing communication with God is the key. And I think we need to be careful not to only put requests "big enough for God to care about" in the bowl. He's there for all our needs, so if little Suzy lost her doll, she should know that God wants to help her with that too.

  10. Great thoughts Jeff! Thank you for contributing to the conversation :)

  11. Some great ideas to keep prayer fresh and energized. The prayer closet with pics of what we're thankful for is appealing to me, might have to create one. In general I'm a traditionist when it comes to prayer, blessings are said at bedtime and in morning. Guess we should all think outside the box. Thanks for sharing!!

  12. Helpful thoughts as always Jessica and I can guess which book you're reading by your quotes :-) Have you finished Shane's other book 'Irresistible Revolution' yet?

  13. i'll read your post on sacred places again :)...

    i like the empty bowl, it's open to receive...

    i've heard my co-missionary before talking about her mom... her mom was cooking and while she did, my friend saw her face glowing... she asked her mom why and she said, "oh well, i was talking to Jesus..."

    it's a love relationship that calls for creativity... when we love someone, we never run out of things to please or make that other person happy and that's just the same way with God...

    i love special days... sundays are for Jesus and my family...fridays are reserved for the Pope and the priests... every wednesday of the month,an hour spent with Mama Mary... 19, a special prayer... saturdays, adoration...mornings, after reading the paper, bringing the world's intentions to prayer...

    but i see that this are for my personal growth...

    i encourage you to bring your family to prayer... i like the bowl and the beads... but you have to create your own... and allow the Holy Spirit to work its way through you... and see how it works best for your family since you have little kids... Bible stories... and lives of saints a day would do good...

    let the world's needs seep through you...

    now forget everything i wrote...:P... just LOVE :)

  14. I’m in agreement with everyone else: the prayer bowl is a wonderful idea… and one we will put into practice for sure. I always feel as if I forget someone during prayer; there are just so many folks in need all the time, and this will encourage more intercession for more people. I’ve enjoyed the pray beads as well. This will be a meaningful activity for you and the kids to do together.

    Another interesting idea I borrowed from Craig who talked about tweeting prayers… Not literally of course, but just sending up short sweet prayers during the day. I’ve done it ever since. It sounds really informal, but since God wants us to pray without ceasing, that may mean offering casual prayers often. http://www.deepintolove.com

  15. What a beautiful idea, the prayer bowl and the prayer beads. Each bead reminding us of something to pray for. I am not a person that does a lot of formal praying like Mary but I do have conversations with my inner self quite often and by doing that I am keeping in touch with God that is within all of us. Of late I am becoming more and more conscious of any negative thoughts that might come in my mind and by doing that I am able to immediately dispel that negativity. Thank you Jessica. Loved this post.

  16. I too can't think of a particular time or have something formal..I love this idea of yours,reading this has given me an idea,off late,my daughter has been in some mood,which I can figure out..with my divorce proceedings going on,she is a little distant,I think I should start this way of prayers,maybe I will be able to reach out to her.Thanks a lot,Jessica

  17. David, Thank you for your thoughts...there is no right or wrong way to pray. I believe whatever serves as a connection to God is the right way for that individual. ~blessings

  18. Mike, yes I did finish it! I forgot to write a review, I'll have to do that sometime soon. I would highly recommend that book! It's really one that stirs the Spirit within and brings about the important of living out the gospel actively in one's life. I loved it! Thanks for stopping by :)

  19. Debra..thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. What a great idea with the tweets, I think I'm going to try incorporating that in my tweets! I'll have to find you on twitter :) I'm JMokrzycki if you are interested in getting connected.

    Thanks for the link, I love finding new blogs to read and follow :)

  20. Ritu..thank you so much for stopping by. ~blessings

  21. Rimly, I love hearing your thoughts...I'm so glad you enjoyed the post and I think it's beautiful that you are cultivating the internal awareness to recognize the conception of negativity and usher it out, bring positivity and peace in. Thanks for sharing :)

  22. Alpana...thank you, if you choose to incorporate any of these methods I pray they bring about some peace and healing for you and your daughter. I will pray for you both during this difficult time, I can't imagine the range of emotions and experiences you both are going through. May God's love inundate you both with His warmth and comfort. ~love and blessings

  23. A beautiful idea....I have a string of prayer beads that was blessed by the Seventeenth Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. That string is what I wear around my wrists... There are moments when I do take it off but I always have them with me!

  24. Thank you for sharing Savira :) How beautiful that they were blessed by the Seventeenth Karmapada! ~blessings