From the Rectory

In this month's Parish Magazine you can read about the 10 day global wave of prayer; ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. It is a wonderful opportunity to think about our prayer lives.

Reflecting on prayer, it seems that it is something we are never really taught, rather, something which we either cobble together, or avoid as a personal activity. Sometimes intercessory prayer can offer us the possibility of avoidance of the deep conversation with God which prayer can be, because we can just focus on others.

Therefore, let’s use this month of May to deepen our friendship with God through honest prayer. William Barry the Jesuit writes in his wonderful book Praying the Truth; “I believe that God wants a personal relationship, an adult friendship, with each of us and that prayer is the best way of engaging in that friendship. By prayer I mean what occurs when I am conscious in some way of God’s presence.”

If personal prayer and contemplation are new to us, then it is preferable to start gently, and once we can sustain that, trust it to grow organically along with a yearning to be in God’s presence. A spiritual director I used to visit once said that when prayer was not happening, for whatever reason, to try the discipline of clearing my mind intentionally for God for just one minute each morning, and each evening. Surely that is possible for all of us? For busy minds she suggested repeating a phrase such as ‘Be still and know that I am God’ for that time.

One of my sons has been learning mindfulness, and he tells me that his teacher suggests they start by emptying their minds for ONE BREATH out and in each morning, and each evening. That is it. When that becomes part of what you do, you feel the benefits of it, and naturally increase to a few breaths.

So, what I am saying is that praying can start very slowly, and at a low level, but through God’s grace it will become the greatest gift of your faith. Prayer, and a relationship with God should resemble your friendship with your closest friend or confidante. That will often mean sharing negative feelings and events; anger, jealousy, places where you haven’t behaved so well. William Barry writes that God knows these things are happening in your life but yearns for you to share them with him. Imagine meeting up with your best friend and saying; “Well I thought you already knew….” And the friend would say, “Of course I did, but I wanted you to tell me yourself.”

For May can I make 3 suggestions:

1. Spend time with God intentionally every day, telling him everything.

2. Read William Barry’s book, or another one on prayer.

3. Come into Church during the 10th and the 20th where I will leave some handwritten prayers or quotes which I hope will offer you prayer inspiration.

These 3 things will help us to grow in our faith as a community, and enable us to flourish, living lives of abundance, as Jesus intends.

With love
Rev Rona