Interim Associate Pastor for Outreach

Do you pray?

When I was a kid, there were members of my family who prayed for everything from finding a lost bracelet to finding a parking space downtown. We prayed at meals, bedtime and when we needed something from God.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I discovered these kinds of prayers weren’t enough for me. There was something missing. My faith was not big enough for adult life and neither were my prayers.

An early mentor gave me a copy of the writings of Thomas Merton. In those pages, I discovered some of the deeper recesses of the spiritual life. I discovered that there were many kinds of prayer; not just the ones I prayed at home or at church. Through contemplative prayer I found a way to be quiet long enough to listen to the gentle whispers of God and when I did my faith deepened.

The hardest part of this journey was and continues to be a surrender of self. It is totally voluntary to give over all of our plans and programs to God. The impulse to do so, comes from God and we decide how to respond. God doesn’t coerce us into a relationship, God only offers. However, the ego is a powerful force in our decisions, and while our egos helps us get things done, they can also get in the way, enticing us to focus exclusively on ourselves and our needs.

Prayer is one way we can begin to break down the false images the ego has created, enabling us to become more of our true selves. Transformation by God through prayer helps us become even more effective people. Anxiety and fear diminish and we find peace. Prayer helps us be the people God has created us to be in spite of all the masks we wear. Prayer has the power to draw us closer to God and one another.

When this happens, we can move out into the world equipped to address injustice and suffering.  Because of prayer we can work together to change our world.

I have to admit, though, there are still times I pray for that parking spot …