If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Strategies for Prayer -- third in a series (Alphabet)

Lord, teach us to pray (Luke 11:1).

Another strategy I use from time to time is what I call the spontaneous alphabet prayer, because the 26 letters of the English alphabet form its basis. For example, using the sequential letters ‑ A, B, C, D and so on, my ‘made up’ prayer might sound like this:

A: All heaven declares Your glory. And so, O Lord, I proclaim it as well. There is none like you ‑ in holiness, righteousness and compassion. With all the saints around your throne, I bow in worship and adoration. 

B: Before time, you are God. And after time, you are God. And in time, in my time, you are God. Where can I go that you are not? Day and night, east and west, to the furthest horizon or the lowest ocean depths, you are there. And that comforts me.

C: Come, Holy Spirit, I need you. Woo me back to Calvary where the Savior suffered and died for me. Capture my heart, mind, soul and spirit. Protect me from turning aside to worthless treasures. Keep the eyes of my heart focused on Jesus, the author of life and the source of faith.

While I pray I don't pay attention to grammar, nor do I worry if I repeat myself. God is not grading my prayers according to the rules of English. Like a parent loves to hear his toddler speak, our heavenly Father is pleased to hear us speak to Him.

Each prayer does not always begin with the letter for that section. However, at least one word in each section will begin with the appropriate letter. For example:
 
D: Father, Don't ever cast me from thy presence. Don't take thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

E: You have given me Eternal life because you enabled me to believe that Jesus bore my sins in His most holy Body, that He became sin for us, that we ‑ in Him ‑‑ might become Your righteousness.

And so I continue through the rest of the alphabet.

The letter X poses a minor problem because not many English words begin with it. But this problem is easily circumvented. For "X" I use the letter's sound ("ex")" as the basis for the prominent word in that section. For example, "O Lord, how EXcellent is thy name in all the earth."  Sometimes I modify a Scripture, such as the first verse in Psalm 127, which reads, "Unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain who build it."  I adjust the prayer, "EXcept the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it." Or Psalm 139, verse 23: "Search me, O God, and know my heart," I modify to, "EXamine my heart, O God."

Z is more difficult, but still workable. For example, "Lord, as your servant Zaccheus climbed the tree to catch a glimpse of you, make me willing to go out on a limb, risk the disapproval of others, risk reputation and fortune, just so I might see you."

Because so many words begin with (or sound like) the various alphabet letters, my prayer changes nearly every time I use the format. Let me give you another few examples of A through E:

"Lord, you command me to Abide in You and to let your words abide in me. Help me to abide. Help me in my unbelief and weariness to keep my heart focused on you. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Lord, bring peace to my heart so I might work for peace in our world. Comfort me, Lord Jesus. Unless you are my comforter and counselor I cannot know the peace that passes understanding. Help me Die to myself and live more fully devoted to You who are from Everlasting to everlasting . . . .

Praying through the alphabet is a useful tool to help me "pray without ceasing." I've used the alphabet pattern during my twenty‑five minute commute to and from work. I've prayed the letters during my morning time with Jesus. Sometimes I am unable to get through all 26 letters because I have to give my attention to daily chores, but finishing the alphabet is not the point. Drawing closer to Christ, is. And I am discovering through each letter, each word and each syllable, I draw closer to the One who died so we might live.

1 comment:

http://www.examiner.com/christian-book-review-in-seattle/gail-welborn said...

Unique, powerful and inspired of the Lord! Bless you for posting, dear friend, Gail