Praying into the storm


It’s been a while.

I have not felt motivated to write for a few reasons.

The political situation is overwhelming here in the States, every day there is a new scandal, in fact we are almost at the stage where it feels normal. Trying to comment on it seemed presumptuous.

Then we have the election in the UK, which I am deeply (and pessimistically) interested in. It may be the first time in my life that I vote tactically. I hope I won’t need to. However, I follow many interesting secular and religious people who are offering great opinions on that and I want to dig into the manifestos before I post anything.

And finally, of course, the bombing in Manchester, which is a terrible example of where religion can be used to manipulate and drive people into hurting others for primarily political ends. Watching from across the ocean I feel powerless to act and I feel deeply for the people involved directly and the people of the city of Manchester who bear the brunt of terrorist activities together with London.

Nonetheless here I am back again. And my post is on prayer.

At a time when the world is in such upheaval talking about prayer seems like foolishness. We should be acting. We need to be out there doing!

Of course. Of course. Sitting at home complaining isn’t going to help anyone, isn’t going to change anything. We have to work with all the agencies that are struggling for social justice and truth and we have to make our voices heard.

But….what is going on in the world can be overwhelming. It can cause paralysis, spiritual despair and a sense of powerlessness. We need to pray to remind ourselves who is in control and to strengthen ourselves in the face of our inevitable failures and set backs.

So…

  1. Prayer is not about feelings – you don’t have to feel something for it to be effective.
  2. There is no wrong method of prayer. Say what you really feel, even if that is anger, frustration and despair. You really think God hasn’t heard it before?
  3. There is no wrong place to pray.
  4. The most important thing is showing up.
  5. We do not know the effects of our prayer – except that we will definitely see our sense of self and of the possible reset by God if we pray consistently.
  6. Don’t forget to pray to the Trinity as well as to Jesus or God. The Holy Spirit is a person of the Trinity and has a personality that is engaged, engaging and active.

And here is a great prayer if you need some words to anchor your heart.

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can

And wisdom to know the difference.

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