“Sacred Reading: The 2016 Guide to Daily Prayer” will help you keep your promise. It’s a page-a-day, affordable paperback ($15.95) that eases users into reflecting on how they are following Jesus Christ in everyday life, challenges with thoughtful questions and prompts prayer to flow naturally.
Published by the Apostleship of Prayer through Ave Maria Press at Notre Dame, “Sacred Reading” offers a simplified wrinkle on “lectio divina,” and, if you’ve been put off by the Latin name of that approach to prayer, fear not, this is for you.
This version offers six steps — steps repeated each day so you’re not paging back to the introduction — that are extremely easy to follow:
- Know that God is present with you and ready to converse. This puts you in the frame of mind to pray well.
- Read the Gospel. The day’s Gospel is printed for each day. No need to find your Bible or buy another resource.
- Notice what you think and feel as you read the Gospel. This is the “lectio divina” piece that is so key to prompting one to reflect on gospel-based values. Here is one example: “The disciples were blessed to see Jesus, to hear and touch him. They recognized him instantly. Do we? Or are we often too self-absorbed and skeptical to see the Lord at work in our lives? As you read this Gospel, what impression does it leave with you?”
- Pray as you are led for yourself and others. It’s conversing with God, sometimes thanking, sometimes praising, sometimes questioning, asking, sharing what’s troubling you, and doing the same for others.
- Listen to Jesus. What is he saying to you through this Gospel?
- Ask God to show you how to live today. This is the call to action. How will you react?
Here’s an example of how one is guided into prayer:
“Lord, I repent of my sins so that you can come to me. Show me the ways I resist your love, help me to forsake all habits of sin, and give me grace to . . . (Continue in your own words.)”
And here’s a sample of an action step:
“Lord, lead me to do something today that is pleasing to you, perhaps something I have never done or even thought of doing. Glory to you, Lord. Amen.”
Now here is an important point. “Sacred Readings” starts with the beginning of the church year, the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29. Don’t wait for the new calendar year to start keeping that promise to pray every day.