Prayer Practices for Proper 27 Year A

These prayer practices can be used at any time during the week. They are meant for personal devotion and contemplation. If you would like to download a .pdf version of this page, click here.

Anglican Rosary Prayers

The Anglican Rosary consists of a cross or crucifix (✝︎), an invitatory bead (☉), four cruciform beads (❖ ), and twenty-eight beads broken into groups of seven, called the weeks (●). To pray the rosary, start with the cross, move to the invitatory bead, and then move around the circle, saying the prayers for the cruciform beads and the beads in the weeks. After praying this circle, return to the invitatory bead to say the benediction, and then to the cross for the doxology.

For this week, use these phrases from the lectionary readings as you pray the rosary:

✝︎ You, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and raise the dead.

☉ (Invocation) Keep awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

❖ Keep your lamps trimmed and burning and see what the Lord has done.

  • The beginning of wisdom is the true desire to receive teaching, and a longing to be taught comes from a love of her.

☉ (Benediction) We sill recount to generations to come your praiseworthy deeds and power, and the wonderful work you have done.

✝︎ Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever.

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina is an ancient method of praying with scripture. It consists of four movements. To explain it, I like using the image of a monastic scribe, laboring in a scriptorium. To begin, you need to choose a passage of scripture to pray with. Any of the readings from this week will do. Find a quiet place, open to the reading, and begin.

Movement One, Lectio: Read the passage slowly. Then read it again. Listen for a word or phrase that really speaks to you. If you were a scribe during the middle ages, you’d be copying the words out onto vellum, with no delete button! You’d have to go slowly and concentrate on every word.

Movement Two, Meditatio: Pay attention to thoughts, feelings, memories, and images that arise in your mind. This movement is a little like the wool-gathering that scribes might be doing as they worked.

Movement Three, Oratio: Reply to God. This is what we usually do when we pray, and most people are used to talking to God. Our scribe might find that she’s mumbling about her life and her family and friends as she leans over the vellum.

Movement Four, Contemplatio: Rest in God. This is prayer without words, and really without thoughts. Contemplative prayer, when time seems suspended and you’re simply aware of the room around you and the vast, moving universe enveloping you. It’s very hard to reach this state, but always something to practice getting to. Our scribe might let the stylus drop at this point and just rest, open-mouthed, at her desk.

Visio Divina (Praying with Images)

This is like Lectio Divina, but it uses images instead of words. Below, you will find several images that you may want to pray with. The practice of Visio Divina consists of these steps:

Examine the image slowly, noting the colors, people, places and things. Remain with the image for one to two minutes. If you would like, jot down a few words about the image.
Take a second, deeper, look. Where do you see movement in the image? What relationships do you see? Engage your imagination. Where are you in the artwork? What do you see from that perspective? What deeper meaning emerges?
Respond to the image with prayer. Did the image remind you of an experience, person or issue for which you’d like to offer thanksgiving or intercession? Offer that prayer to God.
Find your quiet center. Breathe deeply. Relax your shoulders, arms and legs. Rest in this quiet. Let God pray in you. God prays beyond words.

Brickdale, Eleanor Fortescue 1871–1945. “The Wise and Foolish Virgins”
William Blake, The Wise and Foolish Virgins

Guided Meditation

There is name for prayers that we say when we light candles in a worship service. These prayers are called lucernaria. Our meditation today will prepare us to bring these prayers into our daily lives. When we come into a room and switch on the lights, we can say a brief lucernaria in order to remind us to pay attention to a sense of hope as we go through our days. 

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat write that “hope can be learned with practice. Certain attitudes support it. One is patience, an ability to tolerate delays, a willingness to let events unfold in their own time. The other is courage, an attitude of confidence even when facing the unknown. A third is persistence, the determination to keep going no matter what happens. We have hope when we can say, all will be well, and we mean it.” We need to align ourself to hope through practice, and the simple act of switching on a light can serve as a reminder to do so many times during the course of a day.

My favorite lucernaria is a little long. I adapted it from a lucernaria that I found in Esther de Waal’s book The Celtic Way of Prayer.

Beloved, kindle within my heart a flame of love for my neighbor, for my foe, for my friend, for my family; for the admirable, and those I cannot admire, and those I am tempted to treat with contempt. For the flame of love must be kindled, nourished, fed, and kept alive, and I must be kindled, nourished, fed, and kept alive; inspired by love, aroused from idleness. O Son of the loveliest Mary, light of the lowliest living thing, light of the love that is highest of all.

It is hard to remember all of this when switching on a light, so I suggest that you shorten it to “kindle, nourish, feed, and keep my hope alive” when you turn on lamps and overhead lights in your daily life. Let’s say that three times a mantra, to settle it in your mind.

May the light of Christ shine in your heart now and forevermore. 

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