Toolbox for Prayer

Posted by Kacie Emmerson

October 9, 2022

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Often when people think of praying, their mind automatically goes to prayers that they memorized as a child, such as the Our Father, Hail Mary, Rosary, etc. These traditional, formal prayers are certainly a wonderful way to pray and deepen our relationship with God, but they are only one of many ways to encounter God. There are many forms of prayer that you may not recognize as prayer. For example, Standing on the beach looking out at the immense power and beauty of the ocean, overcome in awe and wonder at God’s creation – this is prayer.

Waiting at the bedside of a dying loved one; being present to them with a desire to bring them peace and let them know how much they are loved is a form of prayer.

Saint Therese of Lisieux said that for her prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look toward heaven. God comes to us in a myriad of ways because God cannot be limited. It is up to us to become aware of God’s presence. 

I love the picture of the renowned painter Jean-Francois Millet’s painting of the Angelus, where two farmers are bowing their heads in prayer at the ringing of the Angelus prayer. It is a reminder to me to stop and recall God’s presence. 

At times we can simply sit with God in silence. There was an older gentleman who came to church each day and sat in the pew for a while. Out of curiosity, the priest asked him what he prayed for each day. The man answered, “I simply look at God in the tabernacle, and God looks at me. This is a beautiful, contemplative form of prayer. We don’t always need to be talking at God. Sometimes people have lots of things they want to pray for, but they never take the time to actually sit and quietly listen to what God has to say.

Pope John XXIII, who is one of my favorite popes, after a long day of papal duties, simply prayed, “I’m tired, and I’m going to bed. It’s your church. Take care of it.” 

To let go and truly put things in God’s hands is often not an easy thing to do. We often tell God that we are putting this person or situation in God’s hands, then go on continuing to worry and fret. What a feeling of relief when we can truly trust and put it in God’s hands.

There are many ways to pray. The important thing is to actually take the time to do it in whatever way you choose.

Questions for reflection:

What is your favorite way to pray? 

Can you remember a time when you were just awe struck by something in nature or the beauty of something, and lifted up your heart to God in grateful praise? 

What helps you to call to mind God’s presence? 

Linda Soltis, SCN, resides at Nazareth Motherhouse Campus and is coordinator of donor relations for the Office of Mission Advancement.

Want to read more from the Toolbox for Prayer series? Click the links below.

Jesus of 2023

“Some stray thoughts!” by Sister Joel Urumpil

Creating a Toolbox for Prayer

Vipassana means “to see things as they really are.” It is one of India’s most ancient meditation techniques rediscovered 2500 years ago by Gotama the Buddha, and is the essence of what he practiced and taught.

Creating a Toolbox for Prayer

Prayer is communication with the divine (Creator, Redeemer, Spirit), a
relationship, like our human relationships, that needs to be nurtured regularly. Just as in a human relationship we find different ways to build our relationships, so it is with the divine.

Celebration of Light and Forgiveness

During the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, the Sisters of Charity celebrated the sacrament of Reconciliation. It truly was a celebration of light and forgiveness!

Famvin Presents: Collaboration for Social Impact

In preparation for Christmas, Famvin Systemic Change Commission invites you to a weekly offering of Advent Reflections.

What Leads me to God?

A quick and easy answer to this all important question, “What leads me to God?” might be, “Everything!” That answer bears much truth in it. Plunging more deeply, however, reveals places and happenings, situations and persons who bring God front and center into my life. It could be a beautiful tree, an imposing mountain, a peaceful, winding river, the discovery of a poem, a passage from Scripture, being alert and finding God wherever the divine may be waiting for me. Places would be where Eucharist dwells and where I sit to pray. The places where I find the beauties of nature bring God right to me. A fragile flower, a singing bird, a lovely cloud call out the Creator’s name.

Praying with Catherine Spalding: From the Known to the Unknown

What seems like a lifetime ago, during a third grade social studies activity about daily life for the Kentucky pioneers, I vividly remember taking turns churning
butter and pouring melted tallow into iron candle molds. I was fascinated by all they embarked upon on their journey. From an eight-year-old’s perspective, their
lives seemed unbelievably difficult – fraught with obstacles to daily survival, uncertainties about the future, and risk. I could not understand why someone
would choose this path; however, I admired the passion, grit, ingenuity and faith in God required to cross from the known into the unknown. All that I learned back then took on its own shape in my active 8-year-old imagination and I believe those early images of the pioneers awakened in me a curiosity and awe about acting on a dream. What was it like to be so strongly drawn to move into the unknown – willing to risk it all in the name of hope? I was captured by this pioneer spirit. As I grew older, my understanding became more informed, less imaginary and more inclusive of the various impacts of this westward movement. Today, it continues to be expanded as we search to recognize the full story of that era and our place in it – good or bad. We still have so much to learn. However, for this reflection, I will focus on the part that captured my interest as a child – spirit, passion and resilience.

Feast day of St Louise De Marillac

Sisters in Pittsburgh, along with Caritas Support Services staff and a few VCS employees who work at St Louise Convent, gathered for a festive meal after the 11 AM mass held at the Sacred Heart Chapel on the May 9th feast day of St Louise De Marillac.

The Legacy of Mother Catherine Spalding

Catherine believed that God is truly present everywhere – in each person, in each circumstance of life she encountered. Through prayer and reflection she would discern, what is the loving thing to do here, right now? Then with confidence and faith she would daringly utilize all the various means at her disposal to accomplish the task that was before her and always with a gentle spirit and a loving heart.

Feast of St. Vincent de Paul

The Central Leadership Team of SCNs Sangeeta, Jackulin and Adeline wish every Sister of Charity of Nazareth and Associate a very happy St. Vincent de Paul Feast Day.


  1. Marcie Heil SCNA

    Thank you Sr. Linda. I read this right after looking at the beautiful Fall photos of Nazareth. How good is God!


    Thanks Linda. Appreciated this reflection. Nice job.

  3. Luke

    Thank you Linda! Your reflection was beautifully stated.

  4. rita puthenkalam

    Sharing about one’s way of relating to God is very moving and very valuable and helpful. Thank you, Linda, for your sharing…

  5. Deepti ponnembal

    An awesome experience in the tool box. Thank you so much Linda.


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