I am writing this on Tuesday as I take a day of prayer.
I mean, I’m not in some prayer trance right now. Once I figured out you’re allowed to stretch, pause the conversation and eat, these days have become ones I look forward to. Am I allowed to do that? Say I used to be afraid of prayer during my student ministry days?
Not afraid of it, but convinced there was One True Way to do it; like I stepped out to use the restroom once in a seminary class and it was then that the professor quickly and casually said, “This is how you pray without ceasing. This right here, what I’ve written on the board. Now that all of you know the secret, I’m going to erase it.”
My question for you this week might seem simple: How do you pray?
I try to break practices into daily, weekly and monthly. Daily, I have a cup of coffee in prayer. (Not just, “Oh, thank you God for coffee,” which is always part of the prayer because COFFEE IS THE BEST; but thirty minutes of stopping, remembering, and seeking the Spirit in the silence. Other opportunities arise and are missed as well, don’t get me wrong. Weekly, I spend three hours in prayer–I came back to God through Quakerism, so sitting in silence for long stretches helps me find balance. I keep a Concerns notebook, and when I was going through it in the sanctuary, this cockroach had scuttled onto it. I wasn’t expecting him, and flung the notebook and probably made the folks at the Da Vinci school (it was that loud) think something crazy was going on. No method of prayer is perfect, nor does it have to be. Monthly, I take one day (or at least one half day) and spend it in silence, only listening. God speaks through silence. It’s nice.
But there’s a million ways to pray. My question is not “Do you pray like I do” but “How do you pray?” Because the church needs it. We need it. You need it. I need it. The world needs it. Take some time, and see what happens.
This Sunday, Kathy will be preaching on Pentecost. Wear your red, and see you at 11 a.m. I look forward to it!