Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) calls us with great urgency to have (prayer) conversation with God:
“Souls without prayer are like people whose bodies or limbs are paralyzed: they possess feet and hands but they cannot control them.” (She knew what this was like, since she was paralyzed for three years and dragged herself along on the ground.)
Rate yourself as one who prays: Are you dragging yourself on your stomach, crawling on your knees, limping along, walking/running normally?
What does this stir up for you? What action step are you being called to take?
Imagine God speaking this to you as They did to Israel in Isaiah 41:10, “Do not yield to fear, for I am always near. Never turn your gaze from me, for I am your faithful God. I will infuse you with my strength and help you in every situation. I will hold you firmly with my victorious right hand.”
“Consider yourself not ready to start the day, ill equipped, unprepared to mix with your friends, until you have spent at least fifteen minutes in prayer. Count it as much a social necessity as washing.”
Wow! What do you think of that? These spiritual trainers really believe prayer to be very important in our race of life.
“Today, think about the spaces where you have experienced God(dess)’s mysterious beauty out in nature. If you call it something else, that’s ok too. Think of your mountain top moments or any time nature has raised the hairs on your arms. If you feel up to it, spend some time outdoors and create some new moments.
Mysterious God(ess), make yourself known in the beauty of all the earth around us. Help us to get out of our heads, off our electronics, and off our butts long enough to enjoy this amazing world you created. Amen.”
Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) on the importance of singing:
The song of rejoicing softens hard hearts.
It makes tears of godly sorrow flow from them.
Singing summons the Holy Spirit.
Happy praises offered in simplicity and love lead
the faithful to complete harmony, without discord.
Don’t stop singing!”
If you hum or sing or whistle or play an instrument, I’m sure you will agree that most any type of music, especially God music is a help during your daily race through life. Thank God for the gift of music. If you’ve not thought about the spiritual importance of music, try it; you might like it!
Consider this quote from St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)
“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.”
A phrase you will commonly hear in Quaker communities is “I will hold you in the light.” It goes beyond just, “I’ll pray for you.” While it is prayer, it is also an expression of comfort and of love. It is to focus on that of God in each person and ask for that inward light to illuminate that person or even situation whether it be in concern or celebration. Some even picture who they’re praying for bathed in a beautiful, gentle light.
Who or what situation might you hold in the light today?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) on Scripture meditation:
“The Word of Scripture should never stop sounding in your ears and working in you all day long, just like the words of someone you love. And just as you do not analyze the words of someone you love but accept them as they are said to you, accept the Word of Scripture and ponder it in your heart, as Mary did. That is all. That is meditation.”
Read, ponder, and enjoy the significance of a verse such as Psalm 119:105 — “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
Consider today this quote by Pauli Murray (1910-1985)
“When my brothers try to draw a circle to exclude me, I shall draw a larger circle to include them. Where they speak out for the privileges of a puny group, I shall shout for the rights of all [humankind.]”
Thank you God that you draw the biggest circle of all, bigger even than many of us can fathom. Truly we are a global community, one family with You as our biggest commonality. Be my encouragement and strength when I need to breathe in from my shouting for justice.
Martin Luther (1483-1546) on prayer (in a letter to his barber, Peter):
“It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last at night. Guard yourself carefully against the false deluding ideas which tell you, ‘wait a little while. I will pray in an hour; first I must attend to this or that.’ Such thoughts get you away from prayer into other affairs which so hold your attention and involve you that nothing comes of prayer for that day.”
In our cultural context of 2021 Luther would say that daily conversation with God is important, and it should become as much of a habit as eating and other daily necessities. What is your prayer schedule?
“we find ourselves saying to the
‘what do we do?’
‘what can I do?’
the better question might be,
‘how am I showing up?’
I ask the world for peace
do I show up with peace
when I see my family and friends?
I ask the world to put a stop to
do I show up with love
for not only those I know
for those I do not know
do I show up with love
for those ideas conflict with
we say to the world:
we need change!’
how do we show up to change our own
– cleo wade
Ask yourself honestly: “How am I showing up?” “How do I show up to change my own life?”
John Bunyan, George MacDonald, C.S. Lewis, and others accepted imagination as one of the gifts of God and worthy as a means of Christian witness.
C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) fiction, use of allegory:
“Jill’s thirst is now so persistent that she must have water even if the lion catches her. In a heavy, golden voice the lion finally asks, ‘Are you thirsty?’ ‘I’m dying of thirst.’ ‘Then drink,’ says the lion. ‘I daren’t come and drink.’ ‘Then you will die of thirst.’ Taking a step nearer, Jill says, ‘I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.’ ‘There is no other stream.’ Now frantic with thirst, Jill proceeds to the sparkling stream and drinks, the coldest, most refreshing water she has ever tasted.” Thus Jill meets Aslan, the Christ figure of Chronicles of Narnia.
Can you imagine Lewis reading the verse in John 7:37 — “If any of you is thirsty, come to Me and drink” and then penning the passage in The Silver Chair? When have you drunk deeply of God’s refreshment?