Once a month, a spiritual director from Seeking the Spirit Within shares a type of prayer you might like to try. This month, with the beauty of autumn, we offer a practice known as “Praying with Nature.” It’s a simple prayer that can have powerful effects.
Janice lives in the city and works long days. Keeping up with her children, checking in on her aging parents, and keeping the house up, she falls in bed utterly drained most nights. She tries to pray when she first lies down, but her mind is exhausted and she falls asleep almost instantly.
Matthew loves living in the Great Plains. The smells of each season delight him. All the different bird calls bring a smile to his face.The sound of a steady, easy rain comforts him. He wishes he had a better prayer life, but the kind of praying he’s been taught just doesn’t seem to work for him.
Praying With Nature might be a prayer style that works for both people. It’s a way to connect with our Lovely Lord by connecting with creation.
This is a profoundly simple way to pray. It can relax you and it can energize you. It can help you feel grounded.
How to pray in nature
Pick a time of day when you can be quiet with the outdoors. This goes better if you are actually outside, but can also be lovely looking out a window.
If you are a morning person, you might want to start your day with this special time. You can watch the sun rise. Listen to the birds wake up and start their day. Appreciate the cool of the morning.
If you’re a night person, the quiet of the evening might be your best time. Maybe you can bask in the sheer silence. Unless the crickets are still chirping. And the owls are hunting. And a raccoon wanders by. The Orionids Meteor Shower is at its peak tonight. That could be fun!
But no matter your preference for the time of day, it goes something like this . . .
- Put yourself in a comfortable position. For most folks, that is sitting. Others might prefer lying on the ground.
- Take a few deep breaths. Inhale the energy around you. Exhale the noise in your mind.
- Now begin to focus on what is around you. What do you smell? What do you hear? Do you feel the wind on your face? Is the sun out that you can feel its warmth? What is the temperature? What do you see?
- What draws your attention?
- Something in particular?
- Or maybe it’s the interplay of different parts of nature. Something like a bird and the tree it’s in. How do those two bits of creation interact with each other?
- What colors do you see?
- Consider a leaf and its life cycle from spring to autumn.
- What is happening in the interior of a tree or a bush? Can you feel its energy?
- Do you see any squirrels gathering nuts for the winter?
- What insects do you see or hear?
- What does the sky look like?
- What else do you notice?
- What is nature telling you about God? How do you see God’s activity in the creation around you?
- Take as long as you like with this time.
- Before you leave, turn your attention inward. How do you feel? Are you more grounded with yourself and the creation around you? Do you feel more connected with our Lord? Take note of what happened in this sacred time.
- Thank God for this time together.
Ready to give it a try?
It’s a pretty simple prayer isn’t it? It’s one of my favorites. Sometimes when I just need to be with my Lovely Lord and don’t have words, this is the prayer I need.
How about you? Where would you like to sit for time with your Lord through this prayer? What’s the best time of day for you?
Give it a try and let me know in the comment section below how it went for you. I’d like to hear your experience.
Rev. Carmala Aderman, Graduate Certified Spiritual Director