Saturday, March 9, 2013

Praying through Today and Tomorrow

"As our body cannot live without nourishment, so our soul cannot live without prayer," St. Augustine said.

I thought I would share how I conduct my daily prayers.

(First, though, I should note that I pray more than once a day. What follows is a description of my extended, end-of-the-day personal time of prayer.)

When I was in junior high, I was introduced to the ACTS method of prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. About a year ago, though, I switched to a somewhat different method, that of praying through the day just finished and the day about to come.

As I think back on the day that is ending, I offer praises, confessions, and petitions to God based on the events, in the sequence they occurred. For example, I will thank God for a safe commute to work. I may then repeat prayers offered during the morning staff prayer time. If a particular student was struggling with something (or particulalry successful with something, also), I will then pray for him or her. And so on. The reason I find this method a bit more helpful than ACTS is that some events in a given day merit some combination of the four types of prayer in ACTS, and thus I can spend extended time on one event/concern without feeling like I have to wait to talk to God about it in a different way.

Then I move on to tomorrow, praying through everything I have planned for that day. From there, I move onto less time-specific concerns, such as praying for family members, friends, colleagues, institutions, and current events.

Naturally, I may abandon this method if on one day something is weighing very heavily on my heart, but thinking about each specific request I make to God within the context of "praying through the day" helps me keep perspective on what is on my heart and mind, and that perspective in turn helps me see how God is working through everything I experience.

Do you have a certain way you structure your prayer time? Share your ideas in the comments section below!

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