The Dialogue that is Prayer

by Pastor Heath Howe

"Prayer is a dialogue that God is having with creation constantly,
and we can tune in at any time."

I heard this quote spoken by the Right Reverend Larry Maze, the retired bishop of Arkansas. I am not sure if he coined the phrase, but I give him credit as I heard these simple and powerful words from him first. I find them simple because they suggest it is not challenging to be in dialogue with God. God has already put this in motion. All we have to do is show up and listen. I find the words powerful because being in dialogue with God is nothing less than that: powerful.

Prayer, as you have heard me say many times, is one of the keys to enhancing and passing on our faith. As Christians we do not believe that our connection with God comes primarily through buildings, creeds, music, or words. Sure these help, but they are merely the means through which God calls to us. Our connection comes through a relationship with God, most realized through a relationship with Christ. This relationship, like all relationships, needs tending on a regular basis. This tending comes through prayer.

If you are like me, you may find it helpful to have tools that help you remember or even learn how to pray. Or maybe you need a new prayer tool as the ones you typically use are tired and worn a bit. Regardless, this Lenten season at Holy Comforter we are offering several tools, and media outside of the daily Eucharist to help all of us enhance our prayer and thus our relationship with God.

Here they are:

At the beginning of each week during Lent all of us at Holy Comforter will receive an email with three links to on-line offerings for you to consider. One will be a link to the Society of St. John the Evangelist (or SSJE). The link will take you to their site where you can register to receive daily emails from them entitled "Brother, Give Me a Word." These emails will contain one to two lines written by various SSJE monks for your reflection. If you want more, you can simply follow the link back to the SSJE site and read a full sermon. The second is a link to Richard Rohr's site where you can register to receiving daily emails and find reflections taken from a variety of Richard's writings and work. Third, there will be a link taking you the Vibrant Faith at Home site, vibrantfaith@home.org. Here you will have access to a variety of prayer activities for a variety of ages to use with your family and/or friends at home.

These links are great ways to remind us the value and power of bringing our faith outside the walls of CHC and the Sunday morning hour. You could refer to the SSJE site, for example, on the train while heading into work, or read Richard Rohr over your coffee before the children are wake. There are many ways to practice the key of prayer during the week.

In addition Father Hardman will continue his weekly Wednesday class with the theme "Spiritual Exercise in the Spirit of Teilhard deChardin". "These exercises will not focus on personal sin and saving one's soul but on the graces and blessings God gives us for consciously creating a positive difference in our world" (Lewis Savary, The New Spiritual Exercises). If you are interested and feel called to practicing a particular prayer technique please include this class as part of your Lenten journey.

For those of you who feel as if you don't know how to pray or your prayer feels dry and dull, consider joining a small group where you will learn how to hear and discern the voice of God deep within you. We will practice a style of prayer that involves the reading the Gospel appointed for the day, weekly journaling and building a prayer community. Even if you are the slightest bit curious, please join the first meeting on Monday, March 10th, from 11:00-11:30am.

Prayer is happening all around us. God is communicating through the trees, plants, stars, animals, air, and us. If we listen, we will hear the conversation going on all around and within us. It is a conversation that may include, and yet goes way beyond, the written word. We hear it in our ears and yet it goes beyond our minds, and lands deep within our souls. There are many ways to engage in the prayer God is having with all of creation. Try one of the above this Lent and see what happens.

"Prayer is a dialogue that God is having with creation constantly,
and we can tune in at anytime."

                                                                              The Right Reverend Larry Maze