Saturday, February 26, 2011

Prayer beneath the waves

What if the most important thing we do is pray? What would the rest of our life look like?

You may recall that our Vestry looked at that question at our annual two-day retreat last month, and we pledged to pray as individuals each day. Rather than get too rarified, we agreed to keep it simple.

Members of the St. Paul's Vestry are reading the daily meditation from Forward Day by Day, which this month is being written by a South Pacific Anglican bishop.

Today's meditation seems to speak especially to me today on several levels, and I will say more on that next week. You can read the daily reflections from Forward by clicking HERE, and then put it in your bookmarks. You can also get a paper booklet of Forward at St. Paul's or just about any Episcopal church. Here is the meditation for today:

Matthew 6:1-6. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Prayer is like swimming in the ocean. Often prayer may be just paddling in the shallows—a kind of playing at prayer and not a commitment. As the deeper water and waves embrace us, we learn through prayer to be held by God and to trust God’s love. We find a new freedom. As we dive beneath the waves, as we grow in the life of prayer, we gain new perspectives and explore new worlds.

Jesus criticizes those who play at prayer for the sake of impressing others. Jesus teaches his disciples the secret life of prayer. For Jesus, a secret place was among the hills of Galilee. We know that he prayed among the olive trees in the garden of Gethsemane.

Where are your secret places? Maybe you have a corner of a room or a particular place in the quiet of a church. I find solitude and time for prayer while walking beside the sea as the dawn breaks. A loving God will reward us as we commit ourselves to prayer.

PRAY for the Diocese of Masvingo (Central Africa)

Ps 137:1-6(7-9), 144 * 104; Ruth 4:1-17; 2 Corinthians 4:13—5:10

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