2012: The Year of (Simplified) Prayer
What a lovely tradition! After all, our Holy Father designates themes for given years (2012 is the Year of Faith). Why not do similar for our personal spiritual journeys?
Since reading Melanie’s post, I have been contemplating and praying for God to enlighten me and show me an area where my attention and focus needs to be placed throughout 2012. I had a pretty good idea of what God was placing on my heart, and that theme was definitely solidified while reflecting on Wednesday’s daily Mass readings.
First came the Old Testament reading from 1 Samuel where we learn of Samuel’s response upon hearing God speak to him in the middle of the night. While it took a few persistent callbacks from God and some sagely advice from Eli, Samuel eventually recognized it was God who was speaking to him. His response? “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” Then in Psalm 40, we are reminded that it isn’t just enough to hear the voice of God, but to commit to His call, “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.” Then in Mark 1, Jesus shows us the importance of getting away from the noise and crowds in order to pray in solitude.
Collectively these readings say to me: be open and disposed to listen for and to respond generously to God.
A couple of weeks ago I woke up in the middle night with a message placed upon my heart. That message didn’t come from a persistent voice as it did with Samuel. It was delivered in more of a whisper with instructions to “Pray for your husband. Really start praying for your husband.”
I was jolted at first. Why do I need to pray for Joel? What’s wrong? Will he be ill? Will he face employment stresses? My thoughts raced. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well the rest of the night. But as I’ve reflected on the words heard in that whisper, I realize it’s not about what may or may not come before us in terms of Joel’s health or wealth. It’s more about me and the state of my prayer life. Sure, I intellectually know about the power of a praying wife — I just haven’t been one lately. I haven’t been much of a praying anything lately. My devotional life is currently cluttered with regrets over a multitude of prayerful practices I had planned to implement over the last year but failed to prioritize. I began 2011 as a new full-time at-home mom. I had my heart set on praying the rosary more regularly, attending daily Mass more often, making a holy hour weekly. The year ended and it seems I’m longing more than ever for a deeper communion with Christ through prayer.
While my 2012 theme is still in refinement, I know a simplified approach to my prayer life is a central pillar. And what an example of simplicity we are given in the daily Mass readings: Speak, Lord, I am listening. I come to do your will.
As He did with Samuel, maybe God will need to break through a few more times. Maybe He will put someone in my life who provides sage advice just as Eli did for Samuel. I’m still not sure I understand, but I am sensing much peace will come simply by listening more. And in listening more, may I be molded into the praying wife that God is calling me to be. And heck, maybe some of those devotional practices I long to incorporate will naturally find a simple way into my prayer life as the year progresses.
Like Melanie’s example, do you incorporate a theme to guide your journey? Have you experienced a “Samuel moment”? And how do you respond?Image Credit