I rise early after only snoozing my alarm once. I creep past my children’s bedrooms as they slumber. I start the coffee. I light the candle. I sit down in my prayer spot and grab my Bible. I take a deep breath, rub my eyes, and settle in to pray.
And then, I run through the list.
Round and round my mind swirls, considering my to-do list that needs organizing, decisions that need discernment, friends that need intercession, appointments and meetings that need scheduled, texts that need to be sent.
My intended moment of prayer passes before I realize. Did I even talk to God?
Moving from the Cycle of Distraction . . .
When my typically fruitful prayer time morphs into this spinning cycle of consideration, I know it’s time to zero in. Sometimes I want to bring so much before the Lord that I end up bringing nothing. And really, He just wants my heart.
During these times I double down on my need for concentrated meditation. But too much input can aggravate the distracted pace which my mind is already running. So I choose one thing: one devotional, one book of the Bible, one Gospel for lectio divina, or one theme in prayer. And I allow that to be my focus. I entrust the rest to Jesus.
. . . to a Resting Place of Praise
Something tells me that, after the last couple of years, I am not the only one who experiences distracted prayer time. There’s so much to grieve, to hope for, to confess, to forgive, to question, to sacrifice for, and to ponder. Maybe you feel like your prayer time has turned into “to-do list” time, too. Maybe the silence in which you normally flower with Jesus is now so polluted with noise and distress and nothing is growing.
In these cases, I have found that setting my mind upon a singular theme in prayer has provided the kind of spiritual nutrients the soil of my heart needs. It allows me to shift my focus from seeking earthly solutions to giving heavenly praise. Instead of beginning my days in stress, I begin them in stillness. And all the other things I’m worried or thinking about? They become clearer once I have a focused moment with Him.
Join us as we journey to the manger scene to worship Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Look to the Life of Our Lord
When it comes to zeroing in on a specific prayer practice, I like to turn to the Gospels. I find that meditating on a certain moment in the life of Our Lord offers me endless inspiration and food for thought. It helps me focus on what matters most. I can see more clearly the answer to all my questions: Jesus Himself. This type of contemplation of the life of Christ draws me to worship Him, the only posture that truly brings me peace.
With this in mind, then, I am eager to refocus my prayer once again this upcoming Advent season.
And Hay Became Holy
This year’s Advent devotional from Blessed is She is called And Hay Became Holy. The focus is singular: the nativity of Christ.
At a time when many of us are facing distracted and disjointed prayer, this devotional gives us an opportunity to get small, to be quiet, and to focus on the Baby in the manger.
An Advent-Slow Pace
During each of the four weeks of Advent, we will spend slow time with a different character in the creche scene. Moving from lowest position to the highest, we will contemplate the Newborn King with:
- The ox and donkey
- The shepherds and angels
- The Magi
- The Holy Family
We will pray through what each character signifies according to Church tradition and what that means for where we are in our walk with Jesus. Whether you feel closest to the donkey or Mother Mary, this devotional will show you that you have a place in the stable right beside the Savior.
To Hold and to Have
This year’s Catholic Advent devotional is unique in that it incorporates visio divina with sacred art. These images prompt our prayer and guide our meditation.
On Sundays, we are encouraged to keep something from Mass as a reminder of our communal worship: a clip from the song sheet, a flower from outside the church, a quote from the readings or homily. Having something to hold and art to observe engages our senses, helping to remedy the problem of distracted prayer.
Then, we move into the rest of the week. On Mondays, I help lead us into the week with a reflection on the character we are worshipping alongside.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays we will sit with Scripture and allow our minds to consider only that verse. We offer you some questions for thought, too, to help direct your mind to the singular focus.
On Wednesdays and Fridays, you will hear stories from Sarah Rose, Gina Fensterer, Leana Bowler, and Bobbi Rol that invite you to consider your own story.
Finally, Saturdays allow us to focus on domestic worship by praying with the Psalms.
“Zeroing In” on the Newborn King
This Advent, I am excited and thankful to be simplifying my prayer with And Hay Became Holy. I’m ready to turn my attention, my mind, and my heart from a swirl of thoughts and questions to the One Who fulfills them all. Would you be willing to pray with me through this devotional?
Let me know how you’ll be praying:
- And Hay Became Holy
- And Hay Became Holy for Kids (or the adult + kid bundle)
- The Advent Bundle with And Hay Became Holy, a Rosary, and mug
- And Hay Became Holy + Emmanuel for the Christmas season
I pray this Advent devotional helps zero in your prayer so that the Lord bears the most beautiful fruit during this season!
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