Lockdown and working in isolation give an opportunity to reflect and develop our prayer life. This is both personal, and internal – more to do with our relationship with God, than times spent in worship or other activity with others. It comes from the deepest part of us – our souls. It is also easily forgotten – swamped by business. This week is the university’s mental health awareness week. Today’s theme is “keep learning”.
A group of us from the chaplaincy have started to meet on zoom for morning prayer. At 9.00 am we convene, say a brief hello, and then start the service of the day. This has a seasonal structure, and we fall into a rhythm of familiarity. There are set readings – a psalm, and one from the Old and New Testament. We are learning the value of letting the words flow over us – and not allowing conversation to interrupt. One person’s idea may not be in tune with what the Lord is saying to someone else. We do occasionally comment and feedback afterwards - but during we have learnt to make room for the Holy Spirit – promised by Jesus - to speak.
And He does. As we have worshipped together, and then prayed for the day – a sense of “the right order of things” makes this a good start.
Today’s psalms (124, 125, 126, 127) are a “quartet of encouragement”.
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain.
Restore again our fortunes O Lord,
As the river beds of the desert.
Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in songs of joy.
This daily rhythm is a good foundation. It provides a faith framework for a different activity – those moments of creativity, or response to need. Then, being close to God, we can react with a humble confidence that he hears.
Last night a friend rang us. Her sister was dying in a nursing home from Parkinson’s disease and dementia, and was unable to see a Roman Catholic priest because of Covid19. Without hesitation we prayed for her, with bread, wine and anointing oil. This is the message we sent to colleagues this morning.
Today remembering Dede, sister of a long-standing friend (who rang last night).
Roman Catholic, Parkinson’s, Dementia, nursing home; and also others like her… unable to see a priest because of CV19.
“And he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it. “This is my body given for you, do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22: 19);
“… anoint her in the name of the Lord” (James 5: 14b)
God understands and is alongside us, and hears both the regular rhythm and acute moments of prayer.
If you would like to join us for morning prayer, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)