Last week was a tough week – some meetings and some difficult health news about a beloved congregant had me down. I struggled to stick to my Weight Watchers points (being an emotional eater), I was tired, my throat started to get sore. It was just a drag of a week. There were bright spots in the midst of the gloom, but I still struggled against the gloom. And you can see that, if you read over my blogs for the week.
But this morning, it was like God took my hand and whispered to me “Despite the difficulties you face in ministry, I’m going to remind you how much you love this place and these people.” And I sat in worship, amazed. I looked around and thought about the more-than-a-year I have spent with this congregation. I thought about conversations we’ve had and moments we’ve shared. I remembered tough moments that we made it through together. I remembered heart breaks and moments of triumph.
And it was so good. God is so good. I feel like I woke up to a sunny day after a week of rain.
I am blessed.
I have several friends going through difficult times or facing major changes at the moment. I’ve mentioned this before. Whenever a friend – Christian or not – shares a struggle with me, I tell them that I will pray for them. (If they are not Christian and not close enough for me to know if they will be comfortable with that, I ask if I may pray for them.)
Today was a day of running around doing mundane things – a little grocery shopping, a lot of cleaning, a little laundry and a little cooking. While doing all these chores, my mind tends to run. Actually, it’s really good to have a day when I need to do a bunch of chores because it allows me time to think. As I worked and thought today, it occurred to me how necessary prayer is in my life.
It is as natural to me as breathing, and something I do without really thinking about it. Sometimes I just stop and say “Thank you, God.” Sometimes I spend a concentrated time in prayer. Sometimes I think of someone (remembering something they said or did in the past few days) and when I think of them I lift them up before God in my mind.
Sometimes I pray with words, sometimes in song, sometimes in images and sometimes just in feelings that have no words at all. Today, for example, a friend reached out to express a particularly difficult time she’s been going through in the past month or two. She has been on my mind all day. And while I don’t entirely know a single ‘easy’ thing to pray for her about, every time I have thought about her, I have felt love and protectiveness for her and connected those things to God. It’s a heart-thing and extraordinarily difficult to put into words without sounding trite or new-agey. Basically, I felt warmth towards her and towards God and connected those warmths to each other. I have no idea if that makes any sense at all to anyone else.
Sometimes we think prayer is difficult – but I think it is meant to be as simple as speaking to a friend. If I can pray for you about something, please let me know. And if you’d like to pray for me, well, I’d be touched. There are many things for which I need prayer, and if you’re the sort who feels best when given a specific request, I’d ask that you pray that God increases my trust of him and decreases my worry about uncertain futures.