Stress is an epidemic in the culture today. Most people young and old experience stress due to busy schedules, health issues, and the needs of family members. Studies have shown that at times of distress, people with spiritual or religious practices often report feeling more supported. Prayer is one of the spiritual practices that can help. Flora Slosson Wuellner author of Prayer, Stress and Our Inner Wounds, speaks of various ways to use prayer in everyday life to bring comfort and healing to our stressful lives. Wuellner acknowledges that many of us have rigid beliefs about how and when we should pray. She suggests that prayer is a relationship with our God and that as in any healthy relationship our practices will evolve, grow, and deepen.
Prayer practices can be flexible and varied. According to Wuellner prayer times and methods can open us to God’s grace, to surprises and insights we might not experience with rigid practice. There are many prayer methods that can fit into your personality type and lifestyle. The common prayer liturgy includes adoration, confession, petition, intercession, thanksgiving and commitment however, it is important to keep communicating with God openly and from the heart about whatever we desire. Each person receives God’s response in different ways as well.
The main point is to allow ourselves the grace and compassion that God gives each of us. Pray as we can, pray as we need, pray for others, pray for ourselves and pray throughout the day. Maybe visualizing a healing light flowing around you while breathing deeply and relaxing your muscles will provide a relief from stress in the middle of the day according to Wuellner. It can be done in a few seconds or a few minutes. Perhaps praying with “thankful openness” by lovingly appreciating a tree, a bird or flower, will help you feel God’s love.
Whether you are one who meditates regularly for a specific time or one who prays frequently throughout the day, or somewhere in between, remember God is there. May you be blessed with gratitude, and comforted by the cloak of God’s grace this Thanksgiving.
Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley, 860-767-0186
Deborah Ringen MSN, RN-BC Faith Community Nurse