"In worship, God imparts himself to us."
photo by codswallop58 on flickr
photo by ...jade at flickr
photo by Arashi-San.
Sometimes there are thoughts that start to gestate in your head and your heart.If they linger long enough, I start to wonder if God has put them there and what He is trying to teach me. In addition to the concept of community,the act of prayer has been taking up space in my mind this week. Prayer means different things to different people groups. To some it is wishing, to some it's a ritual that can not be broken, to some it is a life-line. Some people inscribe their prayers on brightly colored cloth and wait for the wind to carry them off. Some people write them on little papers and tuck them between stones in the Wailing Wall of Jerusalem because it is said to be the last remnant of the Holy temple. Some lay prostrate and others just talk to God like he is their papa or an old friend. For me prayer is communion between me and Jesus. It is both talking to my loving Father and bowing humbly before my Savior King. It is worship, it is surrender, it is opening my heart like David to be washed in His grace and forgiveness, and it is a pouring out, like Mary anointing His feet, of all the love and devotion I can muster. It is an act of faith and humility like she dried His feet with her hair. It is more about the attitude of my heart than anything spoken by my lips.It is the Spirit interceding, it is a crying out in words and it is silent, listening.
I want to remember the ways God speaks to me and so for that reason I write this. Last week I was the parent helper at my kids wednesday morning pre-K at New City Fellowship. There is a time that the kids sit in a circle on little mats and sing songs and then the teacher takes prayer requests. They ask God for everything from wanting someone sick to get better, to asking God to help their brother and sister stop fighting, to asking God to make their mosquito bite stop itching. It is hard not to laugh at some of the things they think of. After everyone had shared their requests they started to pray. Suddenly every one of them bowed down, some of them prostate on the floor. A heap of little bodies all folded over their legs, faces down and heads together and all touching. As I stood there staring at this flower of children praying, I was struck with the picture of unity. God used this physical scene to speak to my heart about what I could learn from them, and how they did not hesitate to bow down together and revel in this communal act. I am not implying that these little ones understood fully the connection of the act of bowing down and the submission and adoration which it is meant to show. I was touched though, by their uninhibited enjoyment of togetherness. Unlike some other faiths that have rigorous habits of communal prayer and bowing down it seems that many of us who follow Jesus forget the power of prayer. We may speak to God throughout the day or when we need something. But how many of us disrupt our schedules and are disciplined about carving out time to talk and listen to God, and to do it with others? God used these little ones to remind me of the reverence and love I need to approach Him with, to make more time in my days to get on my knees and commune with Him both alone and with others.
this photo by Marc_p98 on flickrphoto by davidchoiii at flickr
"If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master's presence. And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back and place it again in our Lord's presence, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour will be very well employed."
~ St.Francis de Sales