Road Trips and Prayer Practices
Title: Road Trips and Prayer Practices
Dear Kaleid Women,
Good morning! Welcome to Wednesday!
When was the last time you went on a long car ride with a family member or friend, just the two of you? Once the chaos of packing the car was over and once you got through the initial debrief conversation, did you notice the interconnection that descended? You know, that special space where you could talk, but you didn’t have to...that comfortable togetherness where conversation had the freedom to bubble up either in brief comments or in long monologues?
What did you learn about prayer in your formative faith years? Was it a formalized mode of communicating with God, mediated by the “higher ups”? Or, was it a formula-led interaction that depended on your knowledge of how not to just barrage God with requests? Or, perhaps it was a thing reserved for mealtimes and bedtimes and (on a busy day) parking spot-finding emergencies.
Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, talks about prayer by saying that it is a way to live into the primary relationship for which we are made. He says, “the relationship Jesus has with God is the relationship for which we are made,” and that relationship is one that looks like “intimacy, access, and home.” In prayer, we are free inside of our fellowship with God and we lean into our dependence on God. As Williams says, prayer brings us into a place of “balancing between freedom and dependence.”
When we enter prayer as someone learning to, “lie in the sunshine of His grace,” we discover that lifting up prayer in faith is not about feeling or thinking in a faith-filled or formulaic way; it is simply opening the door to God’s presence and sitting in that presence together.
So what about the car? Can we use that simple analogy to imagine habits of prayer that are more about presence with God than words crafted to God? Could we, in our imaginations, settle ourselves into the passenger seat, go through the process of getting settled in, and ride--letting ourselves revel in the sunshine of His grace even as we discover intimacy, access, and home?
Journaling Questions for this Week:
How did you experience prayer growing up? What about in your formal Christian training as an adult?
What does it mean to you to be invited into the same kind of relationship that Jesus had with God through prayer? How might that concept change the way you practice prayer?
Spend ten minutes in prayer. Allow the first few minutes to be the “settling in,” talking with the Lord about all the things on your mind. Then, imagine yourself alongside God on your trip, and listen to what comes up in the conversation as you open yourself to the fellowship you share with the Lord. Close with the Lord’s Prayer, recognizing the way that presence with God allows God’s kingdom to come “on earth as it is in heaven.”
The Kaleid Team
P.S. - For a short clip of Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, on prayer, visit here. For the longer sermon from which his idea of prayer as practicing the relationship Jesus had with God comes, watch here.