Pastor Thanksgiving Ponderings
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
On a recent Sunday morning I invited our youngest children to tell me what the word “prayer” means. The children were silent for a few moments, so I changed directions. What is a conversation, I asked. Peter, a wise first grader, answered quickly: it is when you talk with someone about things that are happening in your life. Ah, yes! That’s it, my friends, that’s what prayer is. It’s talking to God about what’s happening in your life.
It has been said that prayer changes things. I believe this. It may not take the tumor away, or give us exactly what we want in life. Sometimes prayer changes us. And when we boldly enter the conversation that brings us to the feet of Christ, we must be prepared that it might take us to a place that we never intended to go. It takes us to the heart of God.
And as we come close to the heart of God, we learn that God longs for all of creation to be whole. God makes a way when there seems to be no way, and we are part of the equation. Our conversations with God energize us to go into the world and have serious conversations with one another about the needs of all people and all creation.
So what happens when we take our prayers to the streets? What happens when the words of our prayers flow into work with our hands and feet?
In Ethiopia, I saw a community transformed because of the persistence of one woman who could not allow children to be left behind without education or breakfast or health care. And so she created a school and a farm and a hospital. She was a woman who would not allow beggars to continue their lives on the street without an advocate and without anyone to care for them, and so she gave them work to do. I saw this persistent woman take her prayers to the streets as she created jobs and a safe place for these forgotten people of God.
In Santa Cruz, I witnessed something similar as a group from our Presbytery met at Common Roots Farm to work with our colleague Ryan Althaus. We met Heidi, a persistent woman who has created a four-acre organic farm for people of all abilities. The website describes Common Roots this way: “We are taking care to make our farm as physically accessible as possible, working to accommodate those who use mobility aids, have sensory integration challenges, or otherwise have difficulty accessing most farm or riparian settings.”
Conversation with God changes things! And when we boldly enter the conversation that brings us to the feet of Christ, we must be prepared that it might take us to a place that we never intended to go.
Someone has said that if we really believed in the power of prayer, if we really believed that prayer can affect world peace, if we were truly convinced that prayer changes things, heals broken lives, and restores severed relationships, then we would be praying constantly. You couldn’t keep us from praying.
So my friends, my prayer for you this November is that you will consider having some serious conversations with God about what’s happening in your life and about what’s happening in the world that God loves so much. Prayer changes things. Don’t let anything keep you from praying!