As we conclude this week of reflection on environmental justice and land, you will find four prayer experiences below, meant as suggestions or starting points. Choose one to pray with to wrap up the first week of the challenge, or allow the Spirit to move you to pray however you feel called.
Note: For artists or writers, feel free to integrate art or journaling into any of these prayer ideas.
OUTDOOR LAND REFLECTION:
Go outside, and stand or sit with your feet planted firmly on the ground where you live. If you are unable to go outside, plant your feet on the ground indoors. Take a few moments to center yourself however you normally do as you prepare for prayer.
Prayerfully consider the following questions as you remember your deep relationship with the land through the physical connection of your feet. If you feel drawn to one question in particular, explore it and let the rest of the questions go.
- How has this land cared for you?
- How have you cared for this land?
- What are you grateful for about the land where you live?
- What questions do you have about this land?
- What do you know or would you like to learn about this land’s original inhabitants or the Indigenous communities who currently steward the land?
- How do you feel called to continue to steward this land moving forward?
Spend as much time in prayer as you’d like. When you are finished, close with a “Glory Be” or with some physical action to express your gratitude for the land (e.g. touch the ground, a tree, or plant).
OUTDOOR OBSERVATION AND POETRY:
Spend time outside where you live simply observing the natural world as Mary Oliver suggests in her poem “The Summer Day.” If a particular element of creation captures your attention, simply stay with it and pay attention. Share your observations with God.
Pray with the following scripture:
“Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” — Exodus 3:5
Suggestion for prayer: Take a few deep breaths and then read this verse slowly, softly, and out loud. Repeat it a few times if you feel so moved. What comes to your heart and mind? Share it with God.
St. Ignatius of Loyola encourages us to pray the Examen, a prayer that makes space for us to notice God’s movements in our daily lives. The Examen also helps us to explore how God is calling us to live and use our gifts in the world. Use the steps of the Examen below to prayerfully review the past week of the challenge.
- Become aware of God’s presence.
Take a few minutes to center yourself and to remember that you are always in the loving presence of God.
- Review the week with gratitude.
As you think back over the past week as you engaged with the challenge, where do moments of gratitude arise? What were the gifts that you received? Be as specific as possible.
- Notice your emotions.
Let images or learnings from the week pass by like scenes from a movie. Notice them, but let them go as new images arise. What feelings or thoughts emerge, and what might God be saying to you through these emotions?
- Pick one feature of the week.
Ask for the Holy Spirit to guide you to an important moment in your week. Was there a particular resource or theme that caused a strong emotion in you, positive or negative? Lovingly explore it with God.
St. Ignatius reminds us that God speaks to us and shows us what we value through our tears. Did anything you experienced bring you to tears? Examine one of these moments in the loving presence of God.
- Look forward to tomorrow
Ask God for the strength and hope to continue to engage in learning, prayer and action for environmental justice in the week ahead. How might God be calling you to respond to what you’ve learned or what came up for you in prayer? Do you feel inspired to take a particular action at this point? Has a seed been planted for the future?
Close your prayer session by having an honest conversation with God or Jesus about what you felt and experienced during this past week of the challenge or during this time in prayer.
View the content in its original email format here.