If you know prayers, but have a hard time praying, try stepping out on one of these prayer escalators and letting God lift you up!
At just under three feet tall, that ever-ascending mountain of an escalator in front of him was a daunting task. He took wobbly toddler steps, closer and closer, but stopped in his tracks where the floor started moving in front of him.
He put one tentative foot on the ribbed step, but when it started to pull away from him, he took a frightened jump back. He tried again. And again. But he couldn’t make that first step stick.
Finally, he took a deep breath, clenched his little fists in determination and decided to go for it!
He landed it! One solid right foot on the escalator.
But that right foot was moving up, up, up. And the left foot was stuck to the unmoving ground. Before long, he was stretched out in a complete split, and when he couldn’t stretch any further, his left foot followed in the right foot’s path.
He was riding up the escalator!
As he turned around, I saw the exaltation spreading across his face and shining from his eyes. That smile was contagious. My eyes lit up too, and the joy found its way to my heart.
God feels that way when we learn how to pray.
Well… we already know prayers, just like my son already knew how to walk. But walking only takes us so far.
Once you get comfortable with formal prayers, God gives you the opportunity to step on different prayer escalators. You can take the first step by lifting your mind and heart to God, and He will carry you the rest of the way.
There are so many different ways to pray, at so many different times. Here are some prayer escalators to try out!
1. Simple Prayer:
Short and sweet.
You can pray simple, formal prayers like the Our Father, Hail Mary, or “Jesus, I trust in You.” Or you can send up quick petitions for what you need in the moment.
Simple prayers are a great way to pray all day. Any situation can be lifted up to God as an offering or request. Any need or thought you have, you can just say it to Jesus without any particular flair.
This is my go-to prayer escalator for busy days.
2. Eloquent Prayer:
Some days, God’s presence can fill your heart up with so much joy that it overflows in beautiful, joyful, poetic words – even in song.
Cue King David and his Psalms: Sing a new song unto the Lord! Or tune in to any favorite Christian artists who are popular today.
So while you’re cleaning around the house or driving in the car, crank up a good song and lose yourself singing along, praising God.
3. In Secret:
“When you pray, go in your room, close the door, and pray in secret.” Try this prayer escalator for those prayers from the deepest parts of you:
- for healing,
- for forgiveness,
- for all your deepest desires.
And God who hears in secret will answer your prayers. Prayer is not a show to put on for other people, but instead a personal conversation with God.
Sometimes we just need that one-on-one time to bare our hearts to Him.
4. With Others:
But praying with others is also good: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.”
We are the Body of Christ, and there is so much power when we unite as one under God, invoking Him with one voice.
You can reach out with prayer requests, participate in the Mass, say a family Rosary, or join a prayer or Bible study group. Even when you’re by yourself, you can pray in union with Christians everywhere and for the reunion of Christians everywhere.
5. In the Morning:
You can pray first thing in the morning: as soon as your eyes open, before your feet hit the floor. Starting your day with God is a great way to get the graces flowing.
When you lift your heart to God in the morning He has the opportunity to ask you, like He asked Mary Magdalene in the Garden:
“What are you looking for?”
He reminds you that you won’t find it in this world, but that you must keep your eyes on Heaven where he fulfills all promises. Morning prayer gives you the energy and enthusiasm, like Mary, to tackle your day at a run.
6. All Night Long:
Some nights you just can’t sleep – you lie awake, worried and anxious. You can turn these sleepless nights into an opportunity for prayer.
You can cry out to the Father in all your fear and anxiety as those closest to you sleep in peace, just like Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane.
You can beg God to spare you from your worst imagined fears, and at the same time pray for His Will to be done.
If you can’t sleep: keep vigil with Jesus!
Try it today:
When you find yourself stuck saying prayers, but not really praying, try stepping on a new prayer escalator. That first step may be difficult to make stick, but once you do God will take over.
He will carry you up like a kid on an escalator.
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