I want to allow my life to be interrupted by God, to be open to divine possibilities. For most of this year, prayer has been an interruption to my sleep, my work, my conversations, my free time and my thoughts. At points, I wrestled to stay present, to stop what I am doing to engage God and pray for the city. At other times, it has been a respite and provided a needed refuge from my to-do list, anxious thoughts and addiction to self-sufficiency. As much as I have both enjoyed and struggled with praying 3 times a day, it has become a needed and necessary interruption. The discipline of communal prayer helps me remember to turn toward God in the mist of my busy day, to unplug from my work and my story enough to lift up the healing of the city, to ask God for help, grace and strength. I am reminded that I am not alone, that God is at work, that whatever I am thinking about, working on or dealing with, I can lay down for a few minutes. I can receive these few minutes as a gift and an invitation to listen, be renewed and focus on God. That is indeed a beautiful blessing.
Tuesday Mornings and Thursday Evenings are my favorite prayer times. I lead prayer on Tuesday mornings. I turn on the lights, light the candles, unlock the doors and read prayers and scripture. Something comes alive in me when I have to wake up a bit early to be ready and seated before everyone arrives. I get to prepare the way. It is an honor and privilege to usher our community into the heart of God. The responsibility has been delightful.
On Thursday evenings, Anne Campbell leads prayer by telling stories. This is a spirit filled time. Jesus told stories and the bible is full of them because stories are a good tool for opening our understanding and a way to renew our hearts and minds. When Anne tells stories, Chapel is transformed into a space of imagination and creativity, a space of merriment and freedom. These are words I associate with God, so I am glad Anne tells stories to shepherd us into God’s story with such dynamism. Leading prayer and listening to these stories alongside biblical stories has kept me alive and awake in prayer.
During evening prayer, Mary’s Magnificent has resonated with me. I have the words memorized but it is the way they reverberates through my chest and head that is striking to me. It feels like something is being prayed through me. Mary’s song is a signpost for me to continue to say yes Jesus, to whatever it is that the spirit wants to birth in and through me and to respond by praising God for his greatness, favor, mercy, strength, provision and help. Her response to God penetrates my being.
Experiencing prayer in these new ways has been stretching which has created more space for God