When do you pray?
I have never been particularly gifted at stillness. I often joke that I became a pastor simply because I could never sit still through an entire worship service! Unless there is knitting involved. If and when it is socially acceptable to knit I can and will gladly sit still for days! If only my beloved children and husband would just allow it. But the McFarland sons usually need or want something like food or attention and Jason is really big on exercise. Jason claims science has proven that I will likely live longer and actually be able to knit more if I put down my knitting and exercise every once in a while. . .
Anyway – since I am not particularly gifted at prayer when I am still – I pray while I am on the move. Somehow – moving my body allows me to focus my mind better. Over the years – I have developed triggers and times that I use to remind me to pray for specific people and things.
Yesterday is a perfect example of how and when I pray. Will and I were carrying out what has become an important ritual in our lives since we resumed worship at Saint Stephen in this COVID-19 world. We were preparing the sanctuary for worship on Sunday morning.
First I needed to run the vacuum in the sanctuary and then I needed to place all of the prayer lists and announcement sheets on the chairs. As Will played with his trains and chattered away to me about what his trains were up to – I set about my tasks. The sanctuary was beautiful and peaceful and filled with light. As I ran the vacuum I prayed. I gave God thanks for the feet that had walked on the carpet (and made it dirty). I gave our Lord thanks for our wonderful Christian community. I gave thanks for my sisters and brothers in Christ. I gave thanks for Saint Stephen Lutheran Church and for the blessing of being your pastor. I also gave thanks for the little Lutheran chatterbox who was keeping me company.
Then I moved on to placing the prayer lists on each chair in the sanctuary. This is a ritual in my week that I have particularly come to love. As I placed the prayer lists – I prayed for the people whose names are on our church prayer list. I also prayed for the people who love and care for them.
On Tuesday when I placed the Bible readings on the seats in the sanctuary – I spent some time praying for the people I am missing so very much right now. I prayed for our sisters and brothers in Christ who can’t join us for worship in the sanctuary because of COVID-19. I prayed and I lamented just a bit – because I am sad about the changes COVID-19 has brought to our Christian community. I also gave thanks for the love I have for this wonderful Christian community that is Saint Stephen Lutheran Church. I gave our Lord thanks for the opportunity to know and love such nifty people.
As Will and I were heading home on Wednesday afternoon – Will hurried into the sanctuary. My sweet boy walked right down the center aisle. He was a man on an important mission. Will walked right up to the Jesus statue that we have hanging above the back altar and he waved to Jesus and apparently – Will told Jesus goodnight and that he would see him again tomorrow. (This image is burned into my memory. I am certain I will remember that sweet – still chubby 7-year old hand waving up at Jesus for the rest of my life.)
We really can just talk to our Lord. We don’t have to use church-y words. We don’t need to use thees and thous and haveths and doths like the King James Bible does (but if you want to that is great too).
Try having a conversation with your Lord like you would your best friend. Tell him what is on your mind and in your heart. You really can tell him everything. He has heard it all and then some! And then maybe at the end of your day – like Will – tell Jesus goodnight and that you will see him again tomorrow. Because – as people of faith we believe (we know) no matter what happens – we will all see Jesus when we wake up tomorrow!
You are all in my heart – thoughts – and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –