Mid Week Prayer
The second part of Prayers from my Teens by Rev Derek Akker. Prayers for Life was Derek’s first prayer book. He remembers the book as being ‘adventurous, radical and certainly not the prayers I was used to hearing and using.’
I still have my copy of Prayers of Life and thought as I prepared for a prolonged period of isolation it was worthy of reading again and sharing it through these pages in the form of a short reflection.
Before we start how about making yourself a coffee (other drinks are equally suitable.) Sit and relax, taking a few deep breaths, enjoying your refreshing drink and prepare for an adventure in prayer, be prepared for the unexpected for sometimes it is in the unexpected that we find our Lord.
‘But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
‘When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words’. (Matthew 6:6-7)
These words from Matthew’s Gospel have a different ring today, going into our room and shutting the door is not just finding a peaceful place. We are in virtual lock down with only limited opportunity to leave our home. Of course the words in Matthew were not about a lock down, they were a counter to the extravagant, exuberant and exhibitionism of some of those who prayed in public. Jesus was calling his followers to something different. It is in what might appear simplicity and quietness that you come before the Lord.
Michel Quoist sums it up thus:
“In the silence of faith,
Before you, Lord
But, Lord, I am not alone
I am a crown, Lord,
For people live within me.
I have met them.
They have come in,
They have settled down,
They have worried me,
They have tormented me,
They have devoured me,
And I have allowed it, Lord, that they might be nourished and refreshed.
I bring then to you, too, as I come before you.
I expose them to you in exposing myself to you.
Here I am,
Here they are,
Before you, Lord.”
(Michel Quoist – Prayers of Life – Gill and Macmillan 1963 pp 114)
Pause for a moment and think of those who have come to mind during the last few days. Just hold the thought of them, picture them and hear their voice. There is no need to hunt for words to say – let your thoughtful silence be your prayer. ”Here I am, Here they are, Before you, Lord.”
You may choose to close this time with the Lord’s Prayer and
Our Lord Jesus Christ who is present with us now,
Keep your heart, your soul, your mind and body;
May he protect you from all that would harm you,
And may you have Christ’s healing and Christ’s peace.
Fr. Derek Akker