- On May 10, 2019
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- guided, prayer, week, WoGP
Psalm 42:5-8 … at night his song is with me
Isaiah 43:18-19 … watch for the new thing
John 11:17-26 … if you had been here
John 19:25-27 … here is your son, here is your mother
Engaging God is the desire that keeps me coming to weeks of Guided Prayer. Like most people, my success with this longing goes up and down. Some days God seems near and prayer is easy and joyous. Other times, engaging with God is more challenging. God understands all of this.
Some years ago, when the pressures and stresses were particularly intense for me and God seemed very distant, my spiritual director suggested that I read through a year’s journal entries. As I expected, those pages were filled with accounts of disappointment and grumbles and demands that God fix the mess somehow, preferably soon.
But there was also a huge surprise for me in those entries. Alongside and peppered through those grumbles, were signs of a loving presence and occasional hints of a divine response. The trouble was, I wanted different answers. I was unaware of the grace that upheld me. For instance, when I was praying for my work place I prayed for goals to be achieved more easily with less conflict. I now know that communities are never conflict free and worthwhile things are not achieved easily. God has given me other, unnoticed gifts. Engaging God is teaching me to look for unexpected gifts as well as those I want.
The even bigger surprise in reading those entries was to realize that the complaining was itself engagement with God. The expressions of anxiety, disappointment, and doubt were prayers as fully as were my thanksgivings and petitions.
I have come to see that every day and every encounter is engagement with God, whether or not I am aware of it. Talking with people, rejoicing with them, aching with them, is to engage with God. To care about my city, country or world is to engage with God. When I am fully absorbed in the activities of daily life I am not disengaged from God. God does not lift me out of the stresses and joys of living but meets me in them, giving me courage to care more not less.
God seeks. God speaks. God listens. The conversation has begun …
For Reflection and Journaling:
- How has my journaling or reflecting on my life revealed God’s presence?
- Where is God trying to engage me now?
Gentle God, you seek me out. You speak words of life to me. You listen to me.
Open me to the gifts you give. Lead me in the way of gentleness and peace. Amen.
Week of Guided PrayerNetwork, Western Ontario Waterways Region, The United Church of Canada, 2018.