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Conversion or Emptiness?

150205_rector_04In my sermon two weeks ago I asked you to spend a brief time in prayer each day and then tell me about your experience. As I checked in with people over the next couple of weeks, I discovered that many people already have a practice of setting aside time for silent prayer.

Prayer one of the most fundamental spiritual practices in the Christian life. As I described in my last two sermons, prayers of gratitude and reverence help us to be more aware of the presence of God in our lives. Prayers of gratitude and reverence also turn our focus in life to God and away from the powers, dangers, and temptations that can gain power over our lives. To realize the benefit of prayer we need to make it a regular part of our lives.

“Prayer is not a matter of mood. To pray only when we feel like it is more to seek consolation than to risk conversion. To pray only when it suits us is to want God on our terms. To pray only when it feels good is to court total emptiness when we most need to be filled.” — Joan Chittister

I love this quote from Joan Chittister because it lays out the choice so clearly. In choosing whether or not to pray regularly we are choosing between two risky possibilities. To pray regularly, faithfully, is to risk conversion. To pray only when the mood strikes, or not at all, is to risk total emptiness, a lack of access to God, when we most need to be filled. When crisis, grief, or fear strikes, we need God and the comfort of knowing our place and purpose in God’s family. The conversion we risk is actually the gift of knowing God.

Yours in Christ,
David+

One Comment

  1. Louanne Shelton says:

    There are times each day when it is my habit to pray. But there are more times than that each day that I send “arrow prayers” to God. Because God, the Holy Spirit, is always there. So I may experience a moment of beauty, seen or heard, so I say “Thank you, God”! Or feel my heart go out to someone who walks with pain, and I ask for a blessing and healing. Or an emergency vehicle passes with lights and sirens on and I ask for safe journey and for them to bring healing. Occasionally I find that I’m able to avoid involvement in an accident on the road and I thank God for the rest of the day!!! It is such a comfort to know that God’s spirit is ever with me to appreciate, to thank and to make supplication.

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