I’m tired of talking and thinking about prayer. When I say that I mean, stop talking and thinking prayer. Let go of different meditations and ways that others have written about. Do what my heart tells me to do when I shut my eyes, take a few deep breaths, and settle into God’s presence. That’s all I’m going to say about it. See where your heart takes you.
I’m back again, grappling with the news. What am I grappling with? Fear.
Fear, the title of Bob Woodward’s recent book, sums up whose fear I’m talking about. Everyone’s! Trump’s and all his allies; me and all who are of my persuasion.
I know that I can only manage my own fear, but how can I do that when I hear of hate talk that includes guns?
“It’s all about guns, stupid,” I tell myself. But does that mean I get a gun, fight fire with fire, fight guns with guns?
No! As a Christian, I know better than that.
Thankfully, after acknowledging my fear, God appears and I hear, “It’s all about love, stupid.”
I pray that I can pray for my enemies, which means praying that love enters everyone. Everyone includes those with guns, and people like me, who aren’t violent in physical ways, but who are violent in their judgments and in their anger of those who doesn’t agree with us.
The other day four of us from church gathered to watch the movie, The Shack. I had read the book when it first came out in 2007, but I couldn’t get into it. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit personified as regular everyday people felt too literal and dogmatic, too defined and limiting for my United Church of Christ upbringing.
Watching the movie twelve years later, however, opened my heart. I was ready to let go of the complexities of the Trinity and receive its simple, unified message of love through my willingness to choose to forgive, trust, and hope--Hard to do but the model of support is there.
Christianity (and Judaism) is a faith of the Book. We know about Jesus through stories told in the four Gospels. It make sense, therefore, to build on those gospel stories through the stories of others.
I am one of the many (at least 100, maybe 200) intercessors with the Iona Community Prayer Circle. Every two months I receive the prayer requests for Group One, the group to which I am assigned. There are twelve groups and approximately 12 requests per group.
I am also one of thirteen intercessors (from all over the world) who have agreed to receive emergency requests that come into the head office in Glasgow and can’t wait until the next group mailing.
Over the years we have become prayer friends, praying for needs that go beyond the Community requests, namely for our friends and families and sometimes for ourselves. It is heartwarming to receive the different words that someone from Australia or Scotland use to ask God for help or give God thanks.
Recently an intercessor from England offered this: I am getting somewhat elderly (85) and have mobility problems so am no longer able to play an active part in church/community life, and feel that intercession is a small offering I can still make.
As far as I am concerned, this is no small offering. It may be one of the most consequential and vital ways an older person (in fact, anyone) can contribute to peace and love in the world. What if everyone prayed for peace?
My morning reading includes a daily section from Around the Year with Emmet Fox (1952). Fox was so wise, so forward thinking. I could quote him every day, and never run out.
Fox affirms my belief and coming to know that God has called me to pray for people. I continue to reread and ponder the following. I encourage you to do so, as well.
Prayer does change things. Let us be perfectly clear about this. Prayer does change things. Many people say that prayer is a good thing because it gives us courage and fortitude for meeting our troubles. They say that prayer often gets a man out of difficulty simply by giving him self-confidence which he would otherwise have lacked. Of course, this is not spiritual Truth. The fact is that seeing the Presence of God where the trouble seems to be does not merely give us courage to meet the trouble; it changes the trouble into harmony.
Prayer heals the body by changing the tissues, and it does this by first changing the mind which forms them. Prayer brings man his salvation by changing his nature fundamentally; not by making the best of him as he can be. The body, the environment, the universe itself, is plastic to our thought; and it always reflects our sincere belief. Emmet Fox (1886-1951)