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The Practice of Prayer

There is a practice of prayer called the Prayer of Examen, which calls us at the end of each day to spend some time reflecting on the day that has passed. It invites us to consider where in the course of our day we have seen God at work, where we have experienced God’s grace and where we have fallen short. We spend time thanking God for God’s presence, asking God for forgiveness and leaving all things in God’s hands as we turn to our beds to sleep.

As I went to bed on Sunday night, I took a few moments to pray the Examen and to reflect on the day that had past. My mind and heart were filled with images of the day and all of the many ways I had seen God at work, and I’d like to share some of those images with you.

The first image that came into my mind was from our wonderful service of worship on Children’s Sunday. I remembered standing beside two beautiful children as they served communion to many who came to receive the sacrament. I saw their sweet hands lifting up the bread and the cup, and I saw grown-ups bending down to receive the gift of God’s grace offered to them from the hands of a child. It was a glimpse of the kingdom of God, where the last shall be first, the greatest will be a servant and “a little child shall lead them.”

Another image that came to mind was of the Angel Choir singing “The Lord’s Prayer” as part of the communion liturgy. It was so clear in that moment that we were praying together. Their song was not a performance. It was not an opportunity for us to showcase the adorableness of our children. It was worship. It was an offering to God. It was a holy moment that pointed beyond the children to a God who is pure and loving and faithful.

As my Sunday night prayer continued, my mind wandered to, believe it or not, the Town Hall meeting that we held during the Sunday School hour. We had a wonderful crowd of folks, nearly 90 in all, and our conversation was open and thoughtful and loving and inspiring. As we talked about the capital campaign to pay down our debt, we shared concerns and ideas and excitement. I came away from that gathering feeling the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and expecting God to do more among us than we have planned for!

Finally, as I closed my eyes to sleep, my mind was drawn to a moment of prayer with the Murillo family. On Sunday evening we gathered in a circle in a waiting room off the ICU, and we prayed. We prayed for Sam in faith and hope and trust. And I experienced the truth that “where two or three are gathered in Christ’s name, there he is among them.” We all continue to pray and wait, because this is what we do. Together. In the unity of the Spirit.

I am so grateful for the many ways that God is present each and every day. Sometimes, God forgive me, I get too busy or distracted to notice. But may God keep our eyes, ears and hearts open so that at the end of each day, we can go to our beds recounting God’s goodness and saying, “Thank you.”