Finding words: prayer resources for a pandemic
From Pastor Kristen Livingston and Jen Boes
The Coronavirus has come as a huge shock to us, and within a very short time it has radically challenged our attitudes and behaviors. Our lives have narrowed and everyday tasks have suddenly become challenging. Social distancing brings new routines and sometimes spaces of loneliness. In the midst of this, our connection to God and our life of prayer, one that might have seemed centered and on track, can begin to feel troubled. But God hasn’t moved away from us! As we pray, we know that even though we are apart in body, God connects us through the power of the Spirit. What words might we offer as we seek to faithfully respond to where we find ourselves?
Here you will find resources that we have found to be life-giving aids to prayer, that are helping connect us to God. Some are online. Some are podcasts. Some are books. They range from ancient to modern, and from specific-for-right-now to timeless.
Daily recordings to guide you through prayer using scripture, stories, and meditative music as prompts, with content and prompts specific to our time and the pandemic. The style of prayer is based on Ignatian Spirituality. Extra prayer tools include a guided Examen prayer for children (review of the day), as well as additional topical prayer sessions, including one on loneliness. Provided by Jesuits in the UK and around the world.
The mission of the Invitation is to create time and space for God. Josh Banner is the host and creator of this podcast and is a spiritual director. He has served within the Reformed tradition and presents regularly at the Dominican Center at Marywood. He offers short and long-form audio guides within the practice of contemplative prayer.
Every Moment Holy by Douglas Kaine McKelvey
Every Moment Holy is a book of liturgies for the ordinary events of daily life–liturgies such as “A Liturgy for Missing Someone” or “A Liturgy for those Flooded By Too Much Information” or “A Liturgy for Laundering.” These are ways of reminding us that our lives are shot through with sacred purpose even when, especially when, we become too distracted to notice. The book is a wonderful resource, and the publisher has opened up a dozen of these prayers online since the onset of the Coronovirus. You can find more here: https://www.everymomentholy.com/liturgies
The Northumbria Community is a diverse, worldwide, Christian Community, committed to a new way for living. Their website has written daily morning prayer, midday prayer, and evening prayer that you can do alone or responsively with a group of people.
Sacred Space is a ministry of the Irish Jesuits and provides daily guided prayer and retreats online. Sitting at your computer, you can use the prompts for a short prayer break. Sacred Space is inspired by the spirituality of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, a sixteenth-century Basque, whose insights into God’s working with the human heart have been of great assistance to countless people over the centuries and are found more helpful than ever today.
At the Still Point: A Literary Guide to Prayer in Ordinary Time by Sarah Arthur
This book is a literary guide to prayer following the church’s liturgical calendar. Alongside weekly Scriptural passages, the reader is invited to a prayerful journey of the imagination guided by poets and authors, both classic and contemporary, who have known the things of God but speak in metaphor. These are writers who tell the truth, as Emily Dickinson put it, but they “tell it slant.” Listen to Sarah describe her book here.
Psalms for Young Children by Marie Helen-Deval
This is an excellent resource for kids ages 2-8 years old. It’s a picture book of Psalms that echoes the Church’s long-held conviction that Psalms are the prayerbook of God’s people. This sweet book opens up the emotional breadth found in the Psalms for the youngest of readers.
Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer by Eugene Peterson
As we go to the Psalms as the primary place to be guided in prayer, Peterson also helps us to remember that it is God who speaks to us first; prayer is fundamentally our answering speech.
We Wonder podcast inhabits the practice of contemplative Bible storytelling for children and adults alike. You might remember that we shared this resource during Advent and Lent; the creator of this podcast has continued to follow a Lectio Divina pattern of regular meditations on Scripture into the Easter season.
Writing A Lament
Here is a two-minute video from Old Testament scholar Carol Bechtel about how to write your own lament. Carol has been blogging from Rome where she is on Sabbatical. This would be a great activity to do as a whole family.
The Christian Reformed Church is also keeping an ongoing list of faith nurture suggestions for during this Covid-19 time.
We share these resources with you with the hope that you will find the rhythms and space to nurture your connection with God through prayer in this unpredictable time. Please feel free to share with us below in the comments which of these that you have found helpful! What other prayer resources have been nourishing you in this time?