A word about prayer

Post 37/2021 Sunday 29 August . . . Jeremy Taylor (1613-67), a cleric in the Church of England, prayed, “Teach us to pray often, that we may pray oftener.” According to Wikipedia, Taylor was known as the “Shakespeare of Divines for his poetic style of expression.” His prayer is relevant today.

In my experience, “often” frequently goes by the wayside and “oftener” comes up wanting.

Scripture reassures me that the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. Romans 8:26b states, “for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”

Ascending prayer.

I believe the Spirit hovers over the natural and human disasters encompassing the world, interceding for people and all creation. Still, I’m at great loss to take it all in–Hurricane Ida, floods, forest fires, heat, factors affecting climate change, the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan, racial inequality, refusal or dalliance to take pandemic safety measures (including vaccination) with the thought that we can live right now like it’s 2019. It just is not so, yet. I pray, “May God speak to us out of the wind and fire, illnesses of body and mind and spirit, reigning hope in these trying times.”

Combating misinformation in WW2

Chapter 66 of The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson (Winston Churchill, family and defiance during the WW2 Blitz), is entitled “Rumors.” I hear echoes from that time to our current situation of misinformation concerning Covid-19 in the USA. It’s 1940: “As Christmas neared, rumors flourished. Air raids and the threat of invasion left fertile ground for the propagation of false tales. To combat them, the Ministry of Information operated an Anti-Lies Bureau, for countering German propaganda, and an Anti-Rumors Bureau, for dealing with rumors of local origin.”

I’m enjoying the book, more than 500 pages, immensely. I’m about to begin “1941, Part Five, The Americans, January -March,” page 339, title, “Secrets.” It rests on my nightstand, the book on loan from brother-in-law Gerald. Thanks for sharing, Gerald!

Finding direction without GPS

For all our self-reliance, Christians as children of God find their direction through communion with God, with each other and engagement with the world. Romans again (8:27), “And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” We are guided by a higher power to live a life that honors God, self and others.

There’s so much to think about, so much to talk about, so much to pray about, so much to be doing about, so much to be becoming about, so much that is true and right and good all about.

I’ve taken the quotes above and following from The Complete Book of Christian Prayer (Continuum, New York. 1997)–I found the volume in a bookshop in Indianapolis, Indiana when bookshops were more ubiquitous than today. “Dear Lord, preserve and prosper bookshops and bless all hands that serve us through public libraries.”

An enduring prayer

From a 15th century Source Unknown, I quote:

“O Lord, the Scripture says, ‘There is a time for silence and a time for speech.’ Saviour, teach me the silence of humility, the silence of wisdom, the silence of love, the silence of perfection, the silence that speaks without words, the silence of faith. Lord teach me to silence my own heart that I may listen to the gentle movement of the Holy Spirit within me and sense the depths which are of God.”

A major move

We moved house this week, from a temporary house in independent living to a somewhat larger independent living duplex, all within the Greencroft Goshen Continuing Care Retirement Community. Thankfully, niece Jan and her husband John and dear friends Gwen and Dean helped make the move go smoothly by carting carloads of boxes even as the professional movers took care of the furniture and more than 50 boxes that had been in storage. Gwen and Dean provided lunch. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Greencroft friends Alice and Willard Roth brought around a gift of coffee beans and maple syrup. They shared two quotes, the first by Unknown: “A house is made of walls and beams; a home is made of love and dreams.” Also this thought by Jane Austen: “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.”

Such shared thoughts, deeds and words enliven us. What fun it is now to unpack; it’s almost like Christmas after two years and nine months at Greencroft. At the end of the one-day move, I sat back in my recliner, tired and happy. We did it! It was a moment of sensing the place of home in this new abode.

Bravo! Thank you! Sweet dreams! Eventually we’ll put the kettle on for ye!

Despite the heat, we managed a few early and late walks

Two more prayers

I take solace from two more prayers, the first from John Bell, a member of the Iona Community in Scotland.

Lord God,
teach me
the precious insignificance of prayer.

Teach me the value
of its hiddenness in my public life; 
its wastefulness in the world's eyes;
its disregard for eloquence
if my spirit can only groan.

Let my prayer be filled
with the enjoyment of you
for your name's sake
and for none other.


The second from Jane Austen (1775-1817): "Grant us grace, almighty Father, so to pray as to deserve to be heard."

Pray on

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. May these thoughts take me into a new week that gives pause for silence. I’ve had my speech.

Amen to the countless prayers, kindnesses and personal endeavors that have brought Marty and me to this time and place. Thanks be to God!

-John

5 thoughts on “A word about prayer

  1. So glad for the references to prayer, as well as the fact you have completed the move with the thoughtful help of friends.

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  2. So glad your move went well…now it’s time to settle in!

    Monty

    May the God of Wonder be with you, delighting you with the beauty of sunrise and the majesty of sunset, with the song of the bird and the fragrance of the flower. —Maxine Shonk, OP

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  3. Congratulations on moving into your new home! Your wait was even longer than our 21 months. I hope the space continues to feel like “home” and that you will enjoy your new neighbors.

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    1. Thanks, Frances. One hardly speaks of “last moves,” but this is home for as long as the good Lord so directs our paths. It is so good to be settling in.

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