As we grow in faith and discipleship, we allow God to transform us, to re-order our lives around God’s mission in the world. The best way to get to know Christ’s heart and be transformed is to spend time in prayer, getting to know our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. We hear the phrase “Let us pray” so many times on Sunday morning during worship. Every time we gather for Bible study or a meeting here at church, we are so good at stopping to pray, to acknowledge God’s presence among us, yet there are times that I struggle to do that on the other days of the week.
As I was preparing to preach this past Sunday, I read some of N.T. Wright’s Hebrews for Everyone. He began explaining Hebrews 2:1-4 using the image of a motorboat on the coast. Unless you keep the engine running and a hand on the tiller, you could easily drift away from shore and have no idea which way to go. He continues the analogy: “If we haven’t got our own motor running, and our own hand on our own tiller, we may drift further and further away without realizing it. Or, worse perhaps, we may provide a ‘drag’ on the others. A small boy I once knew was out shopping with his mother, who was pushing his younger sister in a pushchair. As he got tired and bored, he held on to the pushchair himself, but instead of using his own efforts to walk he was hanging back, so that his mother (as she eventually and crossly realized) was dragging him along as well as pushing the baby and carrying the shopping. Often in church life there are people who have that effect on a congregation or a fellowship” (11). In many ways, we are tempted to let the “spiritual” part of our congregation be handled by the “professionals” or the few who excel at it. We comfort ourselves by contributing in other ways - but we are all called to engage with God, to grow in faith and discipleship and be renewed. While it may come more easily for some than others, growing in faith is not optional for any of us. Pastor Dave Daubert suggests that in order for a congregation to have renewal, it begins with each person doing three things daily . I know that sounds huge, but he suggests that a life of prayer begins with saying grace before each meal. By taking a moment, three times each day to acknowledge who provides for us, it helps center our lives around God. Food becomes a cue to remind us to pray. I invite you to join me in creating another cue to pray this summer. With so many of us carrying around smart phones all the time, it’s easy to create other reminders. Beginning this week, I will set an alarm on my phone for 10:00 am every Wednesday to remind me to stop and pray for our congregation - for the individuals in our congregation and for our future together, discerning what our part is in God’s mission. Join me in praying each week on Wednesday at 9:45 am, knowing that we all join together in our own individual places to pray with one heart. If you cannot join us in prayer at that time, I challenge you to find your own consistent time to pray. Don’t know where to start? Here are a few suggestions: O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (from ELW Morning Prayer) Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen. (attributed to Francis of Assisi) Do you have a favorite prayer? Share it in our Facebook group so others may also use it! In the abiding hope of the Risen Lord, Pastor Lecia