bobby1933 (bobby1933) wrote,

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.

Tags: personal life, prayer, spiritual practice
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