Creativity in Prayer

I finally figured out how to bi-locate myself. With a few good uses of a video camera, some editing, some live streaming, and the use of a few tech gadgets, it was quite simple to, all of a sudden, be in multiple places at one-time. Being in multiple places, both in person and the virtual world, became an everyday necessity in ministry, and finding the ways to do that became a staple in this journey. While there are many things that this pandemic has ‘forced’ us into, being creative in ministry has definitely been one of them. If you are anything like me, you have been working diligently to find new and innovative ways to bring the Gospel message to young people. We all have taken on a ‘do whatever it takes’ mentality in ministry over these challenging and uncertain months. But, as we have all taken on new responsibilities, new roles, and navigated through these rough waters, we recognize that some areas of our own lives may need that same attention and creativity. I am speaking directly to our own prayer life.

Prior to the pandemic, it would be safe to assume that many of us had some regularity when it came to prayer. We recognize the importance of personal prayer time, especially as much of our efforts on a daily basis are focused on leading others to Christ. Your weekly schedule may have included attending Mass regularly, weekly devotions, reflective journal time, praise and worship, and spending time in a Blessed Sacrament chapel in the presence of Christ. Recently, these practices have become limited or just eliminated altogether. The Blessed Sacrament chapel where I used to sit each week has closed its doors since March. The statewide mandate issuing a ‘no singing’ order has taken away expressive times of praise and worship. The limited engagement of attending Mass in person has leveled the true summit of our faith. And, perhaps, even our daily prayer times operate more from a place of fear and worry rather than a place of praise and gratitude. On top of everything else, our minds have been busy working on the ‘how are we going to do this’ rather than ‘why do we do this.’

Do Whatever It Takes

Perhaps now is the time, then, that we establish the ‘do whatever it takes’ mentality regarding our own prayer life. If we can be creative in the ways that we do ministry, can we be creative in the ways we communicate to our loving God? We know that the Holy Spirit cannot be stopped by any regulations that this pandemic has created, so we, too, must realize that there should be no pausing in our relationship with God. But, as we have learned in ministry, this may involve a little of our own creativity.

Listening for the Whisper

There is a wonderful story in the book of Kings where Elijah is waiting for the Lord (1 Kings 9:11-12). All of these huge things (strong violent winds, earthquakes, fires, etc.) passed by, but the Lord was not in any of those things. The way that the Lord presented Himself to Elijah was in a simple whisper. During these challenging and uncertain times, perhaps we need to open our ears to listen to God whispering to us. This may not be in the places that we typically hear and communicate with God, but that is where our creativity and attentiveness comes into play. Find the moments of gratitude when we wake up seeing a beautiful sunrise, experiencing the sacrament of the blessed moment when we laugh with a friend, and finding the extraordinary blessings within the ordinary routines of our lives are ways we may hear that whisper.

Be Different, Be Creative

Expanding our efforts in prayer may also be what we need to continue growing in our relationship with God. While we may not be able to be in the sanctuary of our Churches for prayer, we can be in the sanctuary of God’s creation. Go for a walk, a run, or a hike, and listen for that whisper of God. While we may not be able to gather for Mass on a Sunday to receive the full presence of Christ in the Eucharist, we can start a new prayer routine that may include our spouses, our children, or perhaps a few close friends, experiencing Christ through them. Perhaps this is a great time to open the pages of scripture more deeply by writing daily or weekly reflections, journal responses, or even blogs. While we are spending so much more time in our own homes, we could even create a designated prayer space, again, using our creativity.

In this ever-changing world that we live in, if we can figure out how to do many of our daily tasks creatively, including ministry, we can figure out new pathways to prayer. This is not only a great help to us, but, just like the air we breathe, it is truly a necessity.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash