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Renewed by Prayer

October 18, 2019

 

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. Luke 18:1

 

 

Day by day.  One moment, one breath at a time. This is my prayer; a deep breath, a word of thanks, a glance toward the mountains that are to our west, a seat beside the puppy offering me unconditional love.  In each day, in each moment there is opportunity to pray.  Not only the known prayers learned from my childhood, from scripture, from our beloved liturgy, from other travelers along the way. There are also the  prayers that are shouts of joy, tears of deep sorrow, eyes filled to the brim in amazement. To let my pause be my prayer. 

 

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.

 

Help!  I need you. I am losing heart. I can’t do this anymore. I am done. Thanks! I see your hand in this. Thank you. This is more than I would ever ask.  Wow! * This is amazing. Praise be to you Gracious God. Oh. My. God. I can’t believe my eyes. Who would have thought? Beyond my wildest dreams. In all times and in all places to take a breath and be.  Being present in God’s’ presence. It’s a practice. Prayer is a process of life-long learning and practice.  

 

Persistent, insistent, relentless.  To press, to demand, to keep at it.  There have been all sorts of times and seasons of prayer for me.  How about you?  Who taught you? Who encouraged you? Who has prayed for you, with you?  What are your prayers? 

 

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.

 

For many years this parable has been a “go to” scripture. Identifying with being a widow, a desire to not loose heart, encouragement to keep at it even when it is difficult and there does not seem to be any movement or change.  I hear these words of Jesus in the context of his journey to Jerusalem. I heard them in the context of my own brokenness and uncertainty and need to be cared for and carried.  Jesus doing for us what we can not do for ourselves.  On the road to to the cross, crucifixion, death.  The death that will bring life and the power of life over death are what Jerusalem will bring.  Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem and he goes. Persistent, insistent, relentless.

 

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.

 

Years ago when I would run long distances to find relief from an overly busy mind, the demands of young children and to enjoy the beauty of creation and do something in a day  that would stay done- the power of how words create our reality became particularly poignant.  Alone for miles with no words but those in my head and on my heart my prayers were often pounded out on the path around the Boulder Reservoir and the one behind our home in Longmont.  When I ran with others I got to hear what they often repeated to themselves as they said it out loud. They often sounded like prayers, supplications, confessions, praise.  Running was a prayerful practice as I listened to my breathing and sought solace and refuge in the great outdoors.

 

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.

 

These days there is yoga, journaling, deep conversations on walks, the bedtime check in with my beloved. To let my pause be a prayer. To let my listening alongside someone else be an opportunity to not lose heart and to pray always.  As I look ahead to the celebration of young people affirming their faith -my prayers are in the preparation for that day and reflection of the three past years we have walked together.  As I get ready for the next congregational meeting and ponder how God is calling us to love, serve and grow in this particular time and this particular place -my eyes look to the hills.  Psalm 121 is one of my prayers. 

 

Each morning upon waking Dan and I recite together three prayers we “know by heart”.  "Do not lose heart" Jesus tells us as he reminds us of our need to pray always.  And when I don’t have the words, I am worn and weary, I have lost the rhythm of my breath -I recite the names of those who can pray for me.  At times I ask them in particular to offer up a prayer.  Hymns and songs will come to mind and I find myself humming. The pause when agitated, afraid, unsure has become its’ own prayer.  Then I catch my breath, count the inhales, the holds, the exhales and there is the connection.  The Yah-weh breath prayer quiets my mind, and opens my heart. Today this is my prayer for you:

 

God,

Today may we be open to the pause that is a prayer. Help us to catch our breath and breathe in the love that is surrounding and sustaining us. Thanks for reminding us that You are with us. May we connect with the hearts You have given us. As we catch site of the beauty and wonder of Your creation may we slow down to hear our hearts beat.  When we look to the hills may we feel and know Your Presence and Your peace.

 

 

*There is a book on prayer by an author I appreciate deeply. You may enjoy checking this out:  Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott

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