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.

Famvin Presents: Collaboration for Social Impact

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

Creating a Toolbox for Prayer

Window Gazing on Travel’ emerged as a free form of prayer for me ever since I was introduced to contemplative Spirituality within the SCN Congregation.

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.

Letting Scripture Speak

Lectio Divina is a special kind of Scripture prayer. The term means a “holy reading” or “a prayerful reading” of Scripture. It is a process of praying with Scripture in a way that invites us to be more open to hear a personal and meaningful message from within the passage. This kind of prayer also leads us to a contemplative stance in our prayer with Scripture.

In this article you will find the four basic steps of Lectio Divina: READ, MEDITATE, PRAY, CONTEMPLATE. I will attempt to explain these steps in a practical way. My hope is that this process will help us to pray with the Scriptures in a richer way. This reflection is meant to aid us in understanding and following the spirit of each step and also to help us to become more open to God’s word within the Scripture passage you select.

Escape to peace and serenity at Camp Maria Retreat Center

If you’re seeking a break from the hectic pace of life, consider a trip to Camp Maria Retreat Center. Surrounded by peaceful beauty and filled with amenities and activities to help you relax and recharge, it’s the perfect place to find spiritual renewal.

Using Prose as a Stepping Stone into my Prayer Time with God

I often use my prose that I produce as a creative writer, as a stepping-stone into my prayer time with God.

Season of Creation

The Season of Creation begins today, September 1, and continues through October 4. The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth have several things planned to recognize this effort.

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.

Two Wings of My Prayer Life

As an Indian Christian Religious, the two wings of my prayer life are Biblical and Indian Spirituality. At home, we had everyday family prayer which included Rosary and reading from the Bible. I was responsible to conduct it. It was a vocal prayer that did not touch my heart though there was devotion to do it. After coming to the Congregation too, prayer was mostly a recitation of psalms and singing of songs. Though I was faithful to it there was not much impact on my life. Prayer was like an activity I had to do but I did not enjoy it or experience anything in my heart.

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.


  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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