A wonderful resource for carving out time for prayer and solitude is Jane Redmont’s book, “When in Doubt, Sing: Prayer in Daily Life.” I plan on interviewing Jane down the line because she struggles with depression herself and writes about how to pray when depressed, something I always struggle with. In her book, she offers a very basic introduction to Centering Prayer, a kind of silent prayer or simply being in the presence of God, assisted by Bill Ryan, a student and teacher of Centering Prayer with Contemplative Outreach (www.centeringprayer.com).
Choose a sacred word (a mantra) as a symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within. The sacred word is sacred not because of its inherent meaning–though most people pick a word to which they have a deep religious or spiritual connection–but because of your intent. It expresses your intention to be in God’s presence and open the divine action within you.
Sit comfortably with your eyes closed, settle briefly, and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within. Sit with a straight back and head free. Close the eyes and let go of what is going on around you.
When you become aware of thoughts [here’s where I go wrong!], return ever so gently to the sacred word. Thoughts (feeling, perceptions, images, associations) are inevitable. Do not think of them as an obstacle. The action of returning endlessly to the sacred word is gentle and requires minimal effort.
At the end of the prayer period of twenty minutes remain in silence for two or three minutes with the eyes closed. This allows time for the psyche to readjust to the external senses and enables you to bring the awareness of silence to daily life.
Jane writes her own blog “Acts of Hope” at http://actsofhope.blogspot.com
Originally published on Beyond Blue at Beliefnet.com