The beginning of lockdown unleashed a burst of creative energies inside of me, which really helped me to process the tremendous stress and uncertainty we were facing. You see, my husband lost his job due to the pandemic and began volunteering at a local NPO. We had plans that were forced up into the air and together with the world at large, are having to face the unknown one day at a time.
At a stage in the process, I found the wells of creativity drying up. I found myself entering a cocoon. I feel change shaping a new awareness. I feel myself trying to figure out the way forward, while healing the past, and at the same time discerning how to be present in the now with peace and trust! And it is here that I am trying to cultivate some daily practices to use as rhythms to help navigate these passages of great uncertainty.
Some of the variety of RESOURCES (I use the free version in all of these apps) that have been helping me have been:
Hallow app: hallow.app/share/SUU78V
- A Catholic-based app with a number of daily meditations to choose from. Under the Dailies section, you can try the Daily Gospel, Meditation, Examen. They have made the entire “Stuck at Home” Praylist freely available.
- Today’s Meditation is available freely on a daily basis with a quote and beautiful artwork to accompany. Their courses “Stability in Shaky Times” and “Peace in Political Uncertainty” are available free for the moment.
- Nature backgrounds with peaceful sounds, Bible readings, and several free meditations to listen to along themes such as 6 Days of Soultime, Hope in the Storm, Scripture for Comfort, Scripture for Peace.
- Bible reading app, read or listen to scripture, choose from thousands of themed devotionals.
- Daily meditations along different themes and many themed meditations to listen to in the freely available version. Also, you will find long meditations on Youtube at Abide Sleep Meditations:
- Daily meditations with music and scripture plus questions for personal contemplation.
- Daily meditations with scripture readings and questions for reflection.
- Movement, stretching, at home exercises and health.
- An app we use together with our children – you can set times for a centering sit that is accessible for younger pray-ers.
- Create your own music playlist of choice, listen to thousands of songs, discover new music in the genre of your choice.
One of the areas this time of uncertainty has brought to light is a feeling of “out of control”. When the universe of stars, expanding matter and inexplicable wonders is pointing us to putting control beyond self, to the Great One who made it all, and who continues to make and create our…life…plans…dreams…desires…and hopes. Even when they seem to be at a dead-end.
I have to remind my heart of these things… that it is never too late and there is never a day of impossible with God. That Thomas with all of his doubts was the only person Jesus invited to engage in a personal encounter with his wounds, placing his hand into the side and wounds made by nails and a sword. With an invitation…to believe. In Jesus we will discover places inside of ourselves as yet unexplored if we take up the invitation with a simple yes and find that courage in the eyes of children does in fact exist within ourselves. A simple yes in the eyes of God is a wonderful thing.
For those of you who would like to pursue centering prayer with your children, here is some of our experience:
We began activating times of listening prayer with our girls around the beginning of 2019, starting at ages 6, 8 and 10. We use the Centering Prayer app by Contemplative Outreach and choose a beginning prayer, a start sound of birdsong, or singing bowl etc. and then silence of, at first, 3 minutes, now we’ve moved to 4 minutes, it closes with a sound of your choice and then I close with a scripture before our time of sharing which I record on my phone.
Firstly, I encourage each of the girls to choose a word they would like to hold in God’s presence such as joy, peace, grace, love etc. to begin the time of prayer with a focal point.
Then, I encourage them to ask Jesus, What would you like to share with me today?
It’s as simple as that, and what started out as a bit of a challenge (to sit still etc.) has now become an expected rhythm and practice. How wonderful to know that we do not have to wait until we are old enough to read, or have a quiet time, or sit through a sermon… to have a relationship with God. Everyone can have a conversation with Jesus.
Each of the girls gets a picture, which is where I encourage them to ask Jesus for the interpretation. They get words from Jesus that encourage them and all of us. A simple sentence or two mostly together with a symbolic picture. About their identity, or a comfort, reassurance, or prophetic hope.
Early on in our times, my one daughter had a vision. She saw a priest kneeling at an altar with a living lamb on it. A knife had fallen from his hands onto the floor.
I said, “Do you see that Jesus is saying you don’t need to make a sacrifice to pay for your sins, because the perfect Lamb of God has already taken your sins away when He died for you on the cross! You don’t need to work to be good for God! He has done it all for you! He loves you so much!”
Even when we feel grumpy and don’t feel like it, we have come out uplifted and encouraged as we share this time together.
I say to the girls, find your own comfortable spot, with no distractions, and close your eyes. That’s it and it takes all in all about 10 minutes.
Jesus overheard them and said, ‘I want little children to come to me, so never interfere with them when they want to come, for heaven’s kingdom realm is composed of beloved ones like these! Listen to this truth: No one will enter the kingdom realm of heaven unless he becomes like one of these!’”
Matthew 19:14 TPT
‘This is what I will do in the last days—I will pour out my Spirit on everybody and cause your sons and daughters to prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will experience dreams from God.'”
Acts 2:17 TPT