I am attending the Shalem Institute’s training on Spiritual Direction or Spiritual Guidance. I have found we often talk about having a prayer life, but we as a Church are seldom very specific about how to do that, and once you actually begin a discipline of prayer, how to negotiate that journey.
A year ago our diocese asked Elaine Heath, now the Dean of Duke Divinity School, to be the presenter at our clergy retreat. She said that the Christian journey has three phases: Go deep, go out, go together. I don’t think there’s necessarily an order to these, but all three are necessary and my belief is that the first is the one we often overlook.
To go deep is to make time in your day to become aware of God’s presence in your life. Sometimes we make prayer too complicated. It’s not about having a sacred word or the right technique or having read the right book or having gone to the right retreat. It’s simply being still and knowing that God is God. It’s making a space to be present to God who is always present for us. To pray is to shut off the constant noise in our lives and to rest in God’s presence. We are asked in our baptismal covenant “Will you continue in the prayers?” because it’s one of the ways we come to know what being a Christian means.
Amid all the confusion in our world and our country, take time to remember that God is God. Make some time at your day’s beginning and end to give thanks for this gift of life. Stop the noise in your head; be still and know that God is God. Prayer is not only a gift to the one who prays, but it’s one of the ways the world gets healed.