I spend a period of time each day in prayer and in meditation. I set aside time each day for each of these practices. I am not a theologian or a guru. I have found, though, that prayer and meditation complement each other and add a great deal to my life.
I have heard it said that prayer is talking to God, and meditation is listening for the answers. That may be an oversimplification, but I like the sentiment.
The first thing I do in the morning, before I get out of bed, is to give thanks for another day of life. If my husband is in bed, I check if he is breathing and give thanks for that, too. I (silently) say “this is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it,” and then I wake up my 16-year-old son and round up the dogs.
I go to sleep at night (literally) counting my blessings and giving thanks for the many people and things that bring joy into my life. I don’t view God as a vending machine in the sky that doles out favors in exchange for prayer tokens. I don’t spend much prayer time asking for specific blessings. I do, however, seek answers. I ask for inspiration, and I receive it.
I attempt to spend 15 – 20 minutes each morning in meditation. I have some recordings that i like to use to get into a meditative state of mind. It seems my mind is always working on one question or another, and it is difficult to reach a place where I can just “be” instead of “doing.”
I have learned to keep a pad of paper and a pen handy when I meditate because ideas just pop into my mind. Without my mind planning projects or worrying about details, I am free to simply breathe in and out and listen for inspiration and answers – or just to relax and enjoy life.
There are many free meditation apps for iPhone and Android that are useful tools to help you learn to meditate. Although it’s cold in Ohio as I write (1 degrees F, brrrr), when the weather is warn, there is nothing that I enjoy more than sitting in nature with my eyes closed and just simply observing the sounds of nature and the sensations of the sun and the breeze as they touch my skin. In these moments I can truly disconnect from the wear and tear of life’s distractions and allow God to speak.