“You are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:41–42)
Sometimes, like Mary, I can sit at the Lord’s feet for seemingly hours listening to (reading) His words in scripture, putting myself in the setting, sensing what is there for me that day, and enjoying that moment. It’s quite peaceful and the peace is a gift for which I’m grateful. However, there were other times in my life when it wasn’t a good idea to do this.
We bring to our prayer all that we are including all that we suffer. When anxious, overwhelmed, and overworked it’s probably good to take a break or a few short breaks during the day for Mary’s sort of prayer. You know, take a deep breath, sit a bit, and at least notice the gift of life and say a short prayer of thanks. Better yet, get yourself in the habit of adoration, reflection, and quiet. It will serve you well later.
When painfully depressed however, sitting and reflecting may not be the best thing to do especially if the focus seems to end up on the pain, making it worse. St. Teresa of Avila told her depressed sisters to go outside and walk in order to pray. She knew that walking outside sometimes makes it easier to take the focus off our selves and on to the goodness of God. Forcing our attention to the scenery, sensations of a warm or cool breeze, sounds of birds, leaves rustling on trees, or believe it or not, a ticking clock (reminder of time on earth that we’ve been given) then following those observations with a short prayer of thanks is a perfect prayer for one depressed.
So sit before the Lord like Mary when it is healthy for you to do so but should that way prove to evolve into a negative ruminating take St. Teresa’s advice. Do something different. Prayer is for gazing upon our Lord, not ourselves. Losing our selves in Him is the point. Wherever you can do that best is fine by Him.