In their book Sleeping with Bread: Holding what gives you life, the authors share the following story.
“During the bombing raids of World War 2, thousands of children were orphaned and left to starve. The fortunate ones were rescued and placed in refugee camps where they received food and good care. But many of these children who had lost so much could not sleep at night. They feared waking up to find themselves once again homeless and without food. Nothing seemed to reassure them. Finally, someone hit upon the idea of giving each child a piece of bread to hold at bedtime. Holding their bread, these children could finally sleep in peace. All through the night the bread reminded them, ‘Today I ate and I will eat again tomorrow.”
Last week we tried out breath prayers with Scripture. We were also invited to try writing our own.
This week, we try another prayer practice: the prayer of examen, another ancient prayer that helps us to be attentive to God’s presence and goodness. The prayer of examen focuses on two questions.
For today the two questions are:
1. For what moment today am I most grateful?
2. For what moment today am I least grateful?
You may want to light a candle and be still as you take time to reflect upon these questions. Be attentive to what comes to mind. Perhaps jot down your thoughts. Being still helps us to be attentive to all that we’re carrying, our hopes and fears, strengths as well as struggles.
When you get in touch with what you are grateful for, give thanks to God. When you discover something you are not grateful for name it, feel it, and appreciate that you are not denying it. Be reminded that God is with you.
This prayer practice can be done individually or as a family. As you gather around your dinner table you may want to consider asking these two questions and share your responses with one another. What wisdom might spill from our children as we hold space for their responses?
May God continue to draw near to us as we draw near to God with our gratitude and our needs.
peace be yours,