A Methodist Way of Life - Commitment 1: We will pray daily
by Rev Jacky Quarmby 29 April 2022
If we are already wearied by the demands of our lives, the commitment to pray daily can feel like one more exhausting task, or one more thing to feel guilty about, because we are not doing it very well. But prayer is not meant to be a burden – rather an unburdening.
In the Caribbean and many other parts of the world, it is common to see women carrying enormous baskets on their heads. They may be setting off to work in their farmlands, carrying their tools, food and water for the day or returning at the end of the day with produce to feed a family. Their poise is remarkable and they negotiate obstacles or rough terrain with grace and ease. But when the baskets are taken from their heads and put down, there is a palpable relief at the unburdening.
Is that not what prayer can be? The daily unburdening of loads too great for us to carry. When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, he encouraged them to pray, “Give us each day our daily bread” – a prayer asking not just for food, but for the strength we need to negotiate the challenges of the day.
Praying daily begins with reminding ourselves that God wants to communicate with us at every moment, because of God’s great love for us. It’s not about technique or accomplishment, it’s about opening channels to listen and to ask for what we need.
When Mother Theresa was asked what she said to God in prayer she replied, “I mostly listen” and when the interviewer went on to ask her what God said to her, she answered, “He mostly listens”. That kind of listening is powerful and builds a relationship between ourselves and God. And far from being exhausting or demanding, as Paul makes clear in Philippians, it is the way to experience the peace of God, which transcends all understanding.
I want to finish with a lovely image of prayer that I heard recently. Imagine sitting in the sunshine and feeling the warmth of the sun on your face - how relaxed and content it makes you feel. That is prayer - sitting in the presence of God and turning your face to the Son.
Song: What a friend I have in Jesus
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Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever and ever.