Remaining faithful through tragedy
  • Inspired by group’s commitment to prayer
  • Making prayer primary as never before
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    Soul Rythem

    Staying faithful to prayer times not always easy

    What a week this has been. Through all of my goings and doings, I found it challenging to stay on task with my commitment to pray for a hour a day at 3 p.m.  The specified time is part of 24/7 week of prayer that my church is participating in, which is part of a larger 52 weeks of 24/7 prayer for churches in this area that a prayer colleague and I are organizing.

    It hasn’t been difficult some days because I’ve been flitteringhere or there, or because I cannot give up watching Dr. Oz at that time. But it has been nearly impossible to go into my private prayer space at that time because I’ve been doing good stuff all week.   Even my distractions have been things I think God would be pleased with. However, the weight of the commitment hangs heavy.

    It’s not that I haven’t prayed this week. I have, because I generally start my day with prayer. But I just haven’t always been fully there for my 3 p.m. appointment. Instead, when I have remembered, I found myself wherever I was and whatever I was doing saying a silent prayer that covered some of the prayer concerns we are to pray about but not all of them.

    On Monday and Tuesday, I attended what was to have been a two-day pilot training focused on addressing intimate partner violence in faith-based settings (the second day ended about 3 p.m. because of coming snow). The training curriculum, developed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, certainly educated me about how to help church members or others who may be victims of domestic and sexual violence. It helped me see how I can be an advocate for people who are hurting and need resources.

    I found myself praying as some of the participants, who are now faith advocates for women and men who have been abused by spouses or other partners, related some of their own stories. I especially prayed for the restoration and stability of our families and for emotional healing as we discussed Scriptural references, talked about warnings signs of domestic violence and observed as groups performed skits about domestic violence in the church settings.  Some of the skits, created on the spot in 15 minutes, were powerfully realistic. Especially the one where a male minister used his booming voice to intimidate his  pretend wife. Many of us shuddered during that performance.

    My week also found me with two house guests, one of them a 15-year-old teenager who my husband is mentoring. The teen needs a safe haven for a couple of weeks as he sits out a school suspension. The other is my sister, who is always a delight to have in my home. The four of us have enjoyed a couple evenings of great Scrabble. I have been praying for our young charge since he arrived Sunday night and continued to pray as we played Scrabble that God would use me even then.

    Other obligations crowded in on my time also. A short speech to be written and then delivered Thursday night; a blog to write today; telephone conversations to be had. I also learned mid-day yesterday that my 100-year-old aunt died. Plans are being made for travel to her funeral. With all that was going on, I feel the urgency to pray more not less. So whereever I am and whatever I am doing, I will make the effort to always open my heart to prayer.

    Here is what Mother Teresa said about prayer and busyness:

    There are some people who, in order not to pray, use as an excuse the fact that life is so hectic, that it prevents them from praying.

    This cannot be.

    Prayer does not demand that we interrupt our work, but that we continue working as if it were a prayer.

    It is not necessary to always be meditating, not to consciously experience the sensation that we are talking to God, no matter how nice this would be. What matters is being with Him, living in Him, in His will. To love with a pure heart, to love everybody, especially to love the poor, is a twenty-four prayer.

    How easy or difficult is it for you to keep prayer commitments?

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