Devotion for Wednesday 17 June 2020
The reading from Matthew’s Gospel set for today extols the virtues of praying alone.
But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6. 6
Sometimes when our lives seem chaotic and full of doing, this is a message we need to hear. Reminding us to find time to spend alone in prayer, making time for a personal interaction with God. Reminding us that prayer is not about being seen by our fellow worshippers or getting best marks for church attendance. Reminding us, instead, that prayer is always a mysterious private time with God where we can share our most personal and intimate thoughts.
At the moment, however, spending time alone with God in prayer is the only option available to many of us. Perhaps what we would like, is a reading which reminds us of the joy of communal prayer. Something that acknowledges the reality that it is often easier to make that personal connection with God when we pray in the company of others or when we pray in a building that is awash with the prayers of countless people throughout the generations.
Our buildings have a special place in our hearts because of the way we feel close to God when we are in them. They are places where we have experienced many happy and joyous occasions. Places of calm and peace where the presence of God seems to stream out from the very walls. In them we have been able to store up much food for our souls.
Like animals that hibernate and use up their winter fat stores, we can rely on the spiritual food we have built up over the years until we are able to worship with others. The friendships that have been nurtured in our church and Mothers’ Union families, are still there to keep us fed. What we have learnt from sharing our prayers in our church buildings, is that it can keep us going until we can share them again. Most importantly of all is that prayer, wherever it is undertaken and with whoever we share it, is always an exercise where we wait upon the Lord. The Lord who gives us the strength and courage to thrive, no matter what bizarre and uncomfortable conditions we are faced with.
Be strong, and let your hearts take courage, all you who wait for the Lord. Psalm 31. 24
Loving Lord, we pray for a time when we can meet to pray and worship together again in our church buildings. In the meantime, please keep our hearts focused on you, as we share the most sacred and intimate concerns and joys of our lives with you. Amen
Sent with all my love and prayers to you all,