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Nightly Prayer.

During the fifty years separating my 25th year from my seventy-fifth, i almost never prayed except in times of extreme sorrow, hopelessness  and desperation.  Reestablishing a routine of prayer over the past five or six years has been very difficult.  But for the past forty or fifty nights i have said "my prayers" before going to bed.
Kneeling is difficult for me, first there is the arthritis, then the authority issues.  But prayer comes more easily when i kneel.  That's how i learned to pray as a child.  Also it helps to establish an attitude of humility.

I start with a childhood prayer that i once assumed everyone knew and prayed.  Appearing in 1711, ir read:

When I lay me down to Sleep,
I recommend myself to His care;
when i awake, I give myself to His direction.

By the time i was taught the prayer about 225 years later, it had evolved into this:

Now i lay me down to sleep.
I pray, oh Lord, my soul you'll keep
If i should die before i wake,
i pray, my Lord, my soul you'll take.

To which i have added, in conformity with the earlier version:

And should i live another day,
I pray, oh Lord, you'll guide my way.

I follow this with Tonglen or a Metta prayer, or something appropriate from  some other tradition.  Variety helps because intentionality and awareness can be  lost when i  repeat the same words over and over.  On the other hand, repitition can help as i have found from repeating the childhood prayer..

sometimes there are petitions for certain individuals

Then there is  a period of silence which can turn into  meditation, or contemplation.

Sometimes i say: Amen.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 11th, 2015 02:12 am (UTC)
Many years ago when I considered myself a practicing Christian I reached a point when I stopped praying with words, for the most part anyway. I felt like the way I lived was prayer itself.
Dec. 11th, 2015 03:02 am (UTC)
Yes, that is very true!
But my life has not been a prayer.
Therefore, i begin with words.
Dec. 11th, 2015 04:15 am (UTC)
If prayers give you peace, then I am happy for you.
Dec. 11th, 2015 06:24 pm (UTC)
Well, yes; but its more that prayer is a part of almost every spiritual tradition i know of--probably a universal practice, or nearly so among those who accept notions of the sacred. Even Buddhists who are agnostic or atheist find room for prayer. Controlled experiments, it is claimed, have found that patients who are prayed for get well faster than those who are not. So i have decided that if i care about people, i should also pray for them; and if people, why not plants and animals, and why not the universe which provides their habitat.
Dec. 11th, 2015 10:32 am (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this. :)
Dec. 11th, 2015 06:24 pm (UTC)
You are welcome. :)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )



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