Oratio - Prayer Ideas and Helps
Last Sunday we began our Saturate series talking about a spiritual discipline called Oratio. Now don’t let the Latin word scare you off. Basically Oratio means prayer. It’s just talking to God...at any time, for anyone, at any place, with any words. Not just big fancy church words. Simple words. Heartfelt words. Your words! Prayer can really be that simple, just weaving short requests of God throughout the day in your own words.
Of course, from my own experience, prayer doesn’t always end up being that easy. It takes intentionality and effort sometimes too. So here are a couple practical ideas that were shared with me this past week as well as a few of my own. See if there are any that you find helpful or share your own ideas with me because I could use the help and encouragement to pray more too.
Family Prayer Pail: Find yourself one of those little metal pails that you can get from the dollar section at a store like Target. Write the names of your loved ones (friends and family) on craft sticks (like popsicle sticks, but wider, more like tongue depressors) and put them in the pail. Each evening before you say your mealtime prayer before eating supper, have one of your kids pick a stick from the prayer pail. Then, depending on the age of your kids, either have the parents or your kids themselves pray for that person/family first. Then continue with your regular dinner prayer. If you google "prayer pail" you'll find a plethora of images! Thank you, Louise, for this great idea!
Teaching Kids to Pray: Have you seen this poster before? Looks like a neat resource to use, probably more for school-age kids.
Prayers For Your Children: This would be a useful resource to print out and use as a bookmark if you have kids. This was adapted from this resource here.
This is another similar resource but it's simpler than the one above. It’s neat because you can insert your child's name.
This is from the same source as above, but to help you pray for your teens. Some really good stuff here.
And here’s one more. It doesn’t spell out exactly what to say, but it’s helpful with some general ideas that you might not otherwise think about.
One caveat, all of those resources listed above become a bit wordy at times, or use language that is a little "churchy" and not always understood by those newer to Jesus.
Finally, here’s a Facebook page with short, Scriptural, daily petitions for your kids. For me I know this will helpful.
Praying For Your Spouse: I’m still looking for something that can be a resource for me as a husband to pray more thoughtfully and regularly for my wife. I’ve got a bookmark I keep in my Bible with some daily prayers for me as a husband and father that I received a couple summers ago from Emanuel Lutheran in New London. I’m thinking we should probably develop something like that here at VotL.
After reading a review online I just ordered this book. I’m hopeful about it. I just told Sarah that I ordered a book to help me pray for her better. I wish I’d have taken a picture of the look on her face!
Don’t know much about it, but this looks to be a popular book for wives to pray for their husbands. I’d be interested if any of you have it or use it and what you think about it.
Prayer Books: Just like I can’t always think of what I want to pray about for my wife and my kids, I don’t always know what to pray about for myself or others! I’d like to find a few more prayer books that I know can help with that. Here are two on the website of NPH that I’d like to pick up for myself…Stark’s Prayer Book and The Lutheran Prayer Book. I’ve got an older version of the Lutheran Prayer Book that I received for my confirmation in 1994 but the binding is shot and I wouldn’t mind something a little more updated anyway.
A theologically rich book of prayers that I have enjoyed while at the Seminary is this prayer book by a Lutheran Theologian of the 1600’s named Johann Gerhard. There’s some deep stuff in this book, but the way that the author weaves Scripture together with his prayers is amazing. It’s actually I think a great example of Oratio leading to Meditatio, and if you learn what the author went through in his life, also an amazing example of how God used Tentatio to strengthen his faith as he found his way back to Oratio and Meditatio.
But now I’m getting ahead of myself. Tomorrow I’m preaching on Meditatio and this was just going to be about prayer!
God bless your prayer life richly,