As we kick off this month of spiritual challenge, I only thought it appropriate to take a minute to enjoy the 1980’s glory of M.C. Hammers hit song “Pray.”
I totally rocked hammer pants in the 80’s. Anyone else fall prey to that fashion back in the day? How about skidz?
Ok. Enough about bad 80’s pants. Last month on Sidewalk Theologian I challenged people physically to Strive For Five fruits and vegetables a day to try and eat healthier. If you participated- keep it up! If you didn’t, there’s no time like the present to make healthy choices 🙂
This month I’ll continue to blog about healthy eating on Wednesdays, but on Tuesdays we’ll focus on the spiritual challenge of being prayerful. Now, I know for some of you, prayer conjures up images like this:Or this….
Or maybe even this???
The point is that some of us have ideas about what prayer is or isn’t. The cool thing is that because God has created each one of us, he loves to hear our voice no matter who we are or where we’ve been in life. I know that some people might feel uncomfortable with prayer and if you are, I want to encourage you to participate in this months challenge. After all, sometimes we need to feel slightly uncomfortable to grow as a person. Here are two options for you to participate in.
The first is to pray a prayer that I’ll post each Tuesday and use it as your guide during the week. There is no magic in these words, they are simply a way to express to God what you may not be able to express otherwise. I often like using prayers that have been written out because I like being part of a larger community that is praying them. The prayer for this week is from the book Prayers from the Heart by Richard Foster. I’ve been using prayers from this book for the past few weeks & I’ve really been enriched by them. Here is the opening sentance of the book: “My whole life, in one sense, he has been an experiment in how to be a portable sanctuary,” writes Richard Foster, “learning to practice the presence of God in the midst of the stresses and strains of contemporary life.” I don’t know about you, but that sounds good to me.
The second choice is to pray the office from the Northumbria Community in Ireland. The office is a series of fixed prayers through the day, including scripture and a meditation. I like doing these in the morning, mostly because I can just go to this webpage when I sit down at my computer first thing in the morning. You may want to use this prayer in the morning, at noon time or at night. Again, the idea is to be present to God in the midst of our day, not to fit some regimented idea of what prayer should be like.
The choice is up to you whichever you’d like to do or if you want to do something entirely different. The point of this months challenge is to be mindful of how our spirituality is growing and to be present to God. Some of us are very familiar with these practices, others of us are exploring what this might look like in daily life.
Here is the prayer from Prayers from the Heart:
Be The Gardener of My Soul
Spirit of the Living God, be the Gardener of my soul.
For so long I have been waiting, silent and still-
experiencing a winter of the soul. But now, in the strong name of Jesus Christ, I dare to ask:
Clear away the dead growth of the past,
Break up the hard clods of custom and routine,
Stir in the rich compost of vision and challenge,
Bury deep in my soul the implanted Word,
Cultivate and water and tend my heart,
Until new life buds and opens and flowers.
Please let me know if you’re planning on participating in this months challenge so I can be praying for you as we learn how to be present to God together!