At our last session meeting, Elder Pete Peterson led us in our opening devotional about prayer and in it, he encouraged our session to be in constant prayer for our church. In fact, he encouraged us all, all the church, all the community, to be in constant prayer. He says he believes that prayer is the thing that will get us through the pandemic—prayer is the thing that will take us into the future.
I try to be in prayer constantly.
And, I have varying degrees of success with that.
To be perfectly honest…
I have periods here and there when I can get into a rhythm about it, true. I feel as though the Spirit is carrying me and I’m in prayer (really try to be) all the time. I try, and then I always catch myself (and I’m never sure how long it takes me to catch myself) forgetting about it. It just slips away.
It’s not sustainable for the long term, no matter how hard I try.
So, I’m sharing that with you to assure you that you are not alone.
You’re not alone if you try and fail.
Keep remembering that we forget when we don’t remember what we’re forgetting.
It just means you’re trying.
And having said all that, I even have a routine! Every day. Every morning almost without fail, I start my day with several devotional practices, journaling, and prayer.
This I almost never forget. I almost always do this. Every day.
No kidding, like 99.9% of the time!
• I read the Daily Lectionary (over two years), a cycle of Bible reading that covers all the major stories and prophecies in the Old Testament and almost all of the New Testament, twice. All of that in a two-year time period. Here’s the link if you’re not reading this on a computer:
• I read Fr. Richard Rohr’s daily devotional. Again, if you’re not reading on a computer: https://cac.org/category/daily-meditations/
• I read Phyllis Tickle’s Divine Hours Prayer Manual. Look for it on Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, however you buy your books. There are e-reader versions.
• And, I read J. Philip Newell, Praying with the Earth: A Prayerbook for Peace. This is not available on e-readers, but you can also buy it through the usual channels, too.
• Then, I say my own prayers and I journal a prayer—write it out! Every day.
I don’t share this to lift myself up. I share it to encourage you to pick up some of it in your routine, whatever that looks like—if you have a routine. And if you don’t, I share it to encourage you to start one.
Even so, why can’t I keep going in a constant state of prayer all day every day?
I pray even now to keep remembering what I keep forgetting.
The Wednesday Morning section of Philip Newell’s book has a prayer that resonates me with every time. It prays from our individual vantage point as part of the bigger universe. The metaphor is obvious. See if this doesn’t grab you!
All things come from you, O God,
and to you we return.
All things emerge in your great river of life
and into you we vanish again.
At the beginning of this day
not as separate streams
but as countless currents in a single flow
the flow of this day’s dawning
the flow of this day’s delight
the flow of this day’s sorrows
your flow, O God,
in the twistings and turnings of this new day.
Today, in this new day, and today’s a new day on so many levels—I pray that we all pick it up right where we dropped it or pick it up and run with it as far and as fast as we can. To mix my metaphors, I pray that we pick it up “not as separate streams but as countless currents in a single flow.”
“In the twistings and turnings of this new day.”
Grace and peace,
Assorted muttering and armchair theology from the interim pastor, Rev. Scott Foster.