We’ve talked about easy ways to begin your prayers. (here) But what should you do at the end of your time of prayer?
Think about it another way- you’re at dinner with someone very important. After you pay the bill, you wouldn’t walk out of the restaurant without saying anything. Rather, you would be sure to thank the other person, look him in the eye and leave things on a good note.
It’s no different with prayer.
After you’ve spent 10,20 or even 30 minutes in prayer, how you “leave things” with God is worth some thought. The following are seven ways that you could conclude your prayer:
1. With a formal prayer. This could be as simple as the Our Father or a prayer from a saint that is meaningful to you.
2. With a quote or mantra. Do you have a saying that resonates with you? Is there a line that moves your spirit?
3. With the sign of the cross. Enough said here- you can never go wrong with the sign of the cross.
4. In silence. While Mother Teresa said that at least half of our time (in prayer) should be spent in silence, there’s nothing like concluding your time with the Lord in silence.
5. By looking at an icon. You might place an icon in your prayer spot and conclude your prayer by gazing at the icon- taking a long, meaningful look at its deeper message.
6. By writing. In your journal, you might conclude your time of prayer by writing down something similar each day. I like to do this and it brings a sense of closure and a “sending off” to the day.
7. By invoking a saint. I will often conclude my prayer by asking for the prayers from Mary, St. Joseph, my Guardian Angel and St. Michael the Archangel. Who might you ask for prayers?
The key in all this is simple- be thoughtful and find what feels right for when you conclude your prayers.