Years ago, we stumbled across "Pray the News," a website run by a group of Carmelite nuns in Indianapolis, Indiana. Three or four sisters regularly offered prayers, litanies, and spiritual commentaries on the news. When the order moved, they closed down the website, although they assured their regular visitors, like us, that they would continue their personal practice of lifting to God the news of the day. We trust that the good sisters will not object to our taking up this prayer practice now at Spirituality & Practice.
"Everything that one turns in the direction of God is prayer," said Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus. Richard Foster, a Quaker who has written wisely on different kinds of prayer, calls one type "Praying the Ordinary"; it is seeing God in the ordinary experiences of life. We will keep these broad definitions in mind as we read the news for people, situations, and events that call for prayers, but most of the prayers offered here will be intercessory prayers. We will be asking for God's help and healing presence for our world. We will pray especially for those parts of the creation in crisis that they may experience our compassion and know God's love.
We hope that by praying the news in this way we will also expand both our spirituality and our practice. It is as Jane Vennard writes in Praying for Friends and Enemies:
"True compassion brings us into solidarity with all of God's people. Solidarity not only connects us to others, it makes us one with all our sisters and brothers, including those on the opposite side of the battlefield. Compassion and solidarity are not easy. They are awakened in us slowly. As we pray for others, our prayers are gradually transformed, our hearts are softened, and our eyes are opened. Once opened we can never close our eyes again. We begin to see the world through God's eyes of love."
May this blog awaken our compassion for all people and all of God's creation.