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One of my favorite authors is Richard J. Foster, who has written Celebration of Discipline and Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home. It’s been several years since I read these books, but this morning, I found Prayer on one of my many bookshelves, and decided to get into it again. The first chapter is about Simple Prayer. Prayer for those of us who desperately need to learn or relearn to pray. Prayer for those who don’t even want to pray because we’re distracted, stubborn and self-centered.
Simple prayer is found throughout the Bible. Abraham prayed this way. Joseph, Joshua, David, Hannah, Gideon, Ruth, Peter, James, John, Paul… and many, many others. Ordinary people bringing their ordinary circumstances and concerns to a loving and compassionate Father. There is no pretense, no greater-than-you “holiness.” Just our own self, pouring out our hearts to the Lrod.
We don’t try to be something we’re not. We don’t pretend to be holier, purer or more saintly than we really are. We just begin in the present, in the moment, and perhaps only breathe a short simple thought to God. We can never outgrow this sort of prayer, because we never outgrow our simple, basic need of God.
There are many people around us that can’t wait to kick us when we’re down, to tell us when we’re wrong. But the Father is always willing to take time to hear us; he’s willing to take time and effort to help us. He’s willing and waiting to respond to those simple prayers, for only He knows our heart, really knows us.
Everything we have and everything we are are sheer gifts from God. Even the power to breathe a Simple Prayer.
Tonight, reading Brian Mc Laren’s blog I ran across the following reading… which I share with you.
Everyone is Clergy a Liturgical Reading by Brian Mc Laren.
Everyone is clergy. Everyone is called to serve,
To create, to communicate,
To participate with our good Creator
In the making and remaking of our good world.
Everyone is clergy. Everyone is called to stand,
To struggle, to suffer, to trust and to love,
And so to join in the unmaking of injustice and
In the liberation of earth from every form of sin.
Everyone is clergy. Everyone is called to holiness,
To faithfulness, to health, to growth,
To serenity and activity,
To the practices of life
In the kingdom of God.
All our daily work is holy. Every act of service,
Every deed of neighborly kindness,
Every smile or sigh, every touch or tear
Can be a sacramental act expressing the presence of the living God.
Every drop of sweat that falls in honest labor for the common good
Joins with every movement toward others
In the daily liturgy of human work.
Some are given special gifts to equip and inspire others for this daily work of faith
And labor of love.
All are channels of grace, given, received,
Shared in a symphony of many voices and instruments,
So the earth may be filled with the glory of God.
You are clergy. So am I. Together
We are called to learn God’s music of life
In the unique instruments of our bodies, our persons, our times, our settings.
Then we are sent out to play it with joy and sincerity wherever we go.
Together we are part of a truly apostolic succession:
The people of God sent into the world, generation after generation,
As Jesus was sent by the Father,
In the power of the Holy Spirit,
For the good of the world.
So let us work and rest together,
Let us play and sing together,
Let us by our faithful lives bring glory to the true and living God.
For we are all clergy
And we are all called.