Pastor’s Email Devotion
The Week of Pentecost 5
June 28, 2015
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father.
(Ephesians 3.14, NRSV)
Emilie Griffin in her book Clinging: The Experience of Prayer, says this … “there is a moment between intending to pray and actually praying that is as dark and silent as any moment in our lives.” I was more conscious of that “moment” this past week, than I have been in a long time. Because as I greeted each new day and closed that same day with prayer this past week, my perception was that this “moment” was a little shorter than usual … OK, I’ll be blunt … it was significantly shorter. My immediate conclusion after just a couple of days was this … “I’m on vacation … I have less to worry about … thus my mind is more easily focused and more readily connected to praying.” It makes complete sense … until … well, until it just doesn’t. Because I really was not disconnected from my greater world concerns: I was thinking about church members who were still hospitalized when I left town; I was wondering about people who were facing potential life and death scenarios in their lives; we had our car towed to a garage that I had never heard of until AAA recommended it, for a repair whose definition was at the time unclear; we had a two-year-old at the beach; and I had some unanswered questions for the bride I was marrying the day after I returned home. I had plenty on my mind. But somehow the setting convinced me that my vacation allowed me greater clarity and focus and time to be at my prayer life. Or maybe it wasn’t the setting at all. Maybe was simply my inner voice convincing me that this place and time presented me with a more conducive environment for praying. And … if that was the case, as I suspect it was … what would stop me from convincing my soul and spirit that any place and any time could be a conducive moment for prayer? Why do I regularly allow the world to stretch out that time between “intending to pray and actually praying” that Ms. Griffin identifies. The answer is “nothing”, of course. I know that in my head. But can the afterglow of a more spontaneous prayer life for a week away help carry me forward with confidence, that I can achieve the same spiritual environment here and now in the middle of my ordinary routine? Time will tell, I suppose.
This week I would invite you to join in this same consideration, as you examine your prayer life. What settings are conducive for you in your prayer and reflection? What settings are not? And is there really a difference between them other than the difference you create in your mind? Ponder what events and settings truly compromise your ability to focus, and which ones are self-imposed distractions. The power of prayer is such a simple and basic gift. It is conversation with One who already knows what you will pray about … what you need to pray about. Might that not be enough to prime the pump of prayer for you?
Dear God … clear my mind … empty my bucket of expectations … focus my inner eye more deeply inward … and clear the path to your heart … as I yearn … hope … watch … and yes … pray. Amen.