FOR MUCH OF OUR LIVES, our prayer is a solitary thing. And well it should be.
We find a time and a place in the course of our days that we give over to our practice of being in the presence of God. It is formal or not so formal; and it includes scripture, perhaps, or readings from the saints and other wise ones. It includes the petitions and intercessions that we make for those we love and those who have been given to us. …
We have been taught, and rightly so, that our ongoing conversation with God requires this solitary attention to prayer. Our models are drawn from the life of Christ himself. “Go into your closet to pray, and the One who sees you in secret will hear you in secret,” he himself reminded us. We remember the stories of his going apart to pray, leaving even his closest friends on occasion to do so. We recall his admonition to be wary of those who pray in public places, lest pride enter in.
And yet, there is another side to our prayer. It is the part of our life of prayer that recognizes that we are not really alone when we pray. The side of our prayer that links us to all who have gone before and who will come after us. The part of our prayer that joins our voices with “angels and archangels who forever sing the hymns of praise.” It is the prayer that we say in unison, shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, with the whole church.
And nowhere is that prayer more in evidence than when we gather up on the day of the Lord. And nowhere is such prayer so often unnoticed and unremarked. It slips past us in a way, and with it perhaps there slips past us a way to change the way that we live our lives.
– Robert Benson
That We May Perfectly Love Thee
From pages 61-62 of That We May Perfectly Love Thee: Preparing Our Hearts for Holy Communion by Robert Benson. Copyright © 2011 by Robert Benson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
During your prayer time, be aware of God’s presence. Share your thoughts.
Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ.
Philippians 3:7, NRSV
This Week: pray for grandparents. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.
Did You Know?
In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.
This week we remember: Francis of Assisi, October 4).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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