Thursday, February 18, 2010

40 day Journey with Martin Luther (Augsburg Books) Day 2: Prayer without ceasing

"Guard yourself carefully against those false, deluding ideas which tell you, 'Wait a little while. I will pray in an hour; first I must attend to this or that.' Such thoughts get you away from prayer into other affairs which so hold your attention and involve you that nothing comes of prayer for that day..." --Martin Luther

Reflections for the day:

Reflect on any difficulties you may have had in the past in keeping a regular schedule of prayer. See whether you can detect "false, deluding ideas" that have kept you from keeping a schedule.

I have come to believe in a schedule of prayer, and this schedule has come from life experience. My experience has told me that if I do not run and pray in the morning, I'm more than likely not going to do it at all. Sometimes I do both together. It took many years of living a Christian life before I realized that this is not the only way to pray. I've had a few teachers and spiritual directors guide me on a path to prayer that in tune with the natural rhythms of my life, but also stretches me. My prayers are much more engaged in movement or in music. But I still need the foundation in the morning. Though I may not sit down with a Bible for prayer/meditation/study I use music and movement to lift my prayers to God and thank God for engaging me and listening, as is promised. My prayer life has become much more vibrant rather than guilt-ridden in this practice.

Reflect on how it makes you feel to know that the saints in heaven and on earth are praying with you (and you are praying with them).

When I was a student at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, I would periodically receive addressed envelopes with blank thank you cards inside. It was my job periodically to send a thank you to a donor to Luther Seminary, a donor whose generosity and stewardship helped provide me a theological education. It was this practice that began for me an understanding of the saints and my participation with them in the body of Christ in prayer and action. This is not to say the saints haven't been active throughout my life, it was then that I learned about the "cloud of witnesses" that have done things in their lives that have passed on love and faith to me--though they did not even know me. A big part of prayer for me is saying thank you for the saints who have provided much for me over the years, and I hope that I can be a saint for others on their pilgrimage in life.

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