Friday, May 2, 2008

Wait and Pray

Sally created this week's Friday Five for RevGalBlogPals:

Part of the Ascension Day Scripture from Acts 11 contains this promise from Jesus;

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Then he was taken from their sight into the clouds, two angels appeared and instructed the probably bewildered disciples to go back to Jerusalem, where they began to wait and to pray for the gift Jesus had promised.

Prayer is a joy to some of us, and a chore to others, waiting likewise can be filled with
anticipation or anxiety....

So how do you wait and pray?

1. How do you pray best, alone or with others?

I’m not sure what best means, but I find myself most fully in prayer when I’m alone. More and more often that centering and openness will be during my times of silent meditation, though I will also pray while playing my flute or guitar. Praying aloud with or on behalf of others is hard for me, unless it’s a prayer gathering up joys and concerns that have just been shared. Even after all these years, it’s the part of my pastoral job with which I am most uncomfortable. It feels presumptuous of me to feel assume that my words are going to express the unspoken concerns of others that are often too deep for words. I often feel in those situations that prayer becomes like the definition in the poster above. And it feels even more presumptuous to then expect others to take my words and read them as their prayers to God.

2. Do you enjoy the discipline of waiting, is it a time of anticipation or anxiety?

If it’s something I’m looking forward to, I generally wait with a lot of anticipation and, sometimes, a little anxiety. If it’s the unknown future and what it holds, I wait with anticipation and excitement. But if it’s waiting for hospitality and love around some social justice issue, I wait like the importunate widow –with an anxious and somewhat annoying persistence.

3. Is there a time when you have waited upon God for a specific promise?

I’m not sure I wait for a specific promise for anything from God as much as I wait for a call, a confirmation, an intuitive sensing of what/where/how God wants me to live and respond next. When I was younger, I found this waiting hard and became restless in the process. Now I’ve come (mostly) to enjoy the process itself for the ways in which it helps me hear that prompting more and more clearly.

4. Do you prefer stillness or action?

I prefer a combination of the two. When it’s been a busy ‘action’ period, as it has been in the last few weeks, I prefer stillness as a way to keep myself present and centered. That stillness can be by grabbing time for meditation or music, or more recently, from yoga as well. When I’ve had longer periods of stillness, I find myself raring to go, wanting action to embody what I’ve been getting in touch with in the stillness.

5. If ( and this is slightly tongue in cheek) you were promised one gift spiritual or otherwise what would you choose to receive?

I’d expected to write as an answer to this the one ability I’ve always really, really wanted to have but don’t—the ability to sing well. But instead, if I think about it, these days the gift I’d like would be the ability to respond with patience, openness, and love to people (including myself) when they remain politely indifferent to the hurting of others.


Anonymous said...
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Janice said...

I love your answer to number 5 - the ability to respond to people with patience and openness and love - - that is a wonderful desire! Thanks for sharing! :)

LutheranChik said...

Is it a sin to laugh uproariously at your graphic?...

Singing Owl said...

Love your #3. Oh how I want that to be true for me, and (so far) I'm not doing so well with that.