"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Guided Week of Prayer - Give God a Chance

Yesterday morning I had my first half hour session with my Prayer Companion on this Week of Guided Prayer. We shall meet each day during this week to talk about my experiences of prayer and for me to receive support and suggestions which I hope will enrich my spiritual journey.
I started the day as I often do, up at the allotment at 7am. It is beautiful at that time of morning - very peaceful. I am often joined by the handsome male pheasants who strut their stuff around the plots and squawk at their females as they chase them around the field. Last year I startled a hen pheasant on a nest with several eggs in it, well hidden in the middle of my strawberry patch. Sadly I think the eggs must have been found by rats, as I found some of them scattered around the plot a few days later, some broken and half eaten away, and the nest was abandoned.
I was due to meet my Companion at 9.30 so my time at the allotment was shorter than usual as I had to fit in half an hour of prayer before the meeting. To settle me down I started with some yoga postures. These were originally designed to prepare the yogi for meditation, and so this seemed appropriate. I then spent half an hour in contemplation, meditation and prayer.
My first experiences I found fascinating. JESUS CROSS PRAYER HANDS
I chose a text from those given to me at the introductory service, from Psalm 131:
My heart is not proud, O LORD,
       my eyes are not haughty;
       I do not concern myself with great matters
       or things too wonderful for me.

 But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
       like a weaned child with its mother,
       like a weaned child is my soul within me.

 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
       both now and forevermore.

Isn't that lovely? 

That my soul can be quieted and calmed like the weaned child, no longer fully dependent, but still supported, seems a lovely idea. My soul cries for this world, and is often disquieted. I find sustenance in the quiet times before services when all has been prepared ready for the priest and I can then calm and prepare myself. And I definitely find meaningful prayer in the many beautiful and poetic hymns that we sing each week. To me the hymn very often then becomes my very own personal prayer and connection between my own soul and God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This can be very soul healing.

At the end of our discussions around these thoughts, my Companion gave me a list of suggested scripture passages on God's love and on our trust in God. I had to choose one that is especially meaningful to me and see where that takes me on this journey. I chose a passage from Paul's Letter to the Philippians, chapter 4 vv 8-13:

4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things. 4:9 The things which you learned, received, heard, and saw in me: do these things, and the God of peace will be with you. 4:10 But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at length you have revived your thought for me; in which you did indeed take thought, but you lacked opportunity. 4:11 Not that I speak in respect to lack, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it. 4:12 I know how to be humbled, and I know also how to abound. In everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in need. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

Isn't that passage lovely? I am reminded of Mary treasuring all she has heard about the events surrounding  the birth of the Christ Child and pondering them in her heart. (Luke 2:19) What a lovely passage to meditate on.
I will post my thoughts on this when I have met my Companion again.

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