OCTOBER 8, 2020 THURSDAY
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. - 1 Corinthians 13:11
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The Christian journey moves us through birth, childhood, maturity and death. It’s a destination we strive toward, knowing we can’t get there from here by ourselves. God gets us to where we’ll need to be, here and beyond. We take small steps, bigger steps. Sometimes we go forward, sometimes backwards. With age and experience we grow. And if we’re blessed, with the gift of journeying with the Father of divine love — from one birth, through another, and into our final birth into the heavenly realm.
You grow up in the church, learning, unlearning and relearning with age. Or you came to Christ later on, and join a church as an adult. You have a beginning point. Stage One of the prayer life begins simply. As a child, my mom taught me, “Now I lay me down to sleep,” we prayed before she turned out my light. I learned to say a prayer before meals, “God is great, God is good…” Stage one - Talking to God. You listen from others what to pray. Later you read prayers and Collects from the Book of Common Prayer. You parrot prayers – like the Lord’s Prayer, or maybe the Anglican Rosary. These are foundations that help start us in prayer, and help you when you’re unsure what to say.
This first stage is not to give God information. It is the practice and discipline of performing “an act of love” for God. We use words more to express our love to spouse, children, grandchildren. We tell God He is important to us, and you love him. God knows our heart in taking the time to think about him – we know what is important, and where our hearts find rest.
When you are tired, exhausted— have no energy left for conversation, a simple, “Lord, I love you,” works. Or pray the Lord’s Prayer. When you are in a crisis – received bad news, and you’re too broken to know what to say — again recite a prayer, or a simple, “Lord, help me.” When you’re afraid – have a pending, dreaded conversation you can’t avoid with someone — recall those in your heavenly company and ask them to join you and God, with their loving energy. Remember, in the monastic tradition of daily prayers, around the world, people are always praying. You are in community with God and others.
However, you are able, whatever comes from your heart and into your mind, and out to your lips, think of yourself as the only person talking with God at that moment. Only you have God’s attention right then. What you say matters. Nothing you say is trivial or unimportant even if it embarrasses you. God already knows. God always loves you – nothing will change that. Sometimes in prayer – talking with God, honestly — we learn about ourselves and explore the deepest places of our hearts with the only One whose touch heals and holds you — now and forever. First stage — talk, to God.May God’s blessings of love and grace hold you this day, Fr. Steve