Mid Week Prayer

Part three of Rev Derek Akker’s Prayers from my Teens. Prayers for Life was Derek’s first prayer book – a book that offered adventure, a radical departure from the prayers he was used to hearing… read on for this third instalment.

While the ‘Prayers of Life’ by Michel Quoist provided me with a radical and refreshing view on prayer, it did not mean I abandoned what I was learning about the way Methodists saw prayer and worship. I learnt that the Methodist Hymn book was much more than a song book. Hymns became prayers, there seemed to be a hymn for every occasion and therefore a prayer for every occasion.

My copy of ‘Prayers of Life’ is looking rather dog-eared and neglected. It is now having a breath of fresh air breathed into it as I entered a long period of isolation and shielding. I have valued returning to this book of my teens and I hope you also find value in the reflections it inspires.

Those of us of a certain age will remember the conventional classroom with a long bank of black-boards. Today the black has been largely replaced by white-boards and chalk replaced by felt pens. In between the movement from black-boards to white-boards there was the green-board.

This change and the role of the scientist caught the imagination of Michel Quoist and inspired him to pen ‘Green Blackboards’.

However, 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.

The school is up-to-date.
Proudly, the principal tells of all the improvements.
The finest discovery, Lord, are the green blackboards.
The scientists have studied long, they have made experiments;
We know now that green is the ideal colour, that it doesn’t tire
the eyes, that it is quieting and relaxing.

It has occurred to me, Lord, that you didn’t wait so long to paint the
trees and meadows green.
Your research laboratories were efficient, and in order not to tire us,
you perfected a number of shades of green for your modern meadows.
And so the “finds” of people consist of discovering what you have
known from time immemorial.

Thank you, Lord, for being the good Father who gives his children
the joy of discovering by themselves the treasures of his intelligence and love.
But keep us from believing that – by ourselves – we have invented anything at all.

(Michel Quoist – Prayers of Life – Gill and Macmillan 1963 pp 16)

Look out of your window or take a stroll around your garden and look for the shades of green and savour the freshness of early summer. Observe how the greens, so often, provide the background to the flowers as they develop and burst into bloom.

In these dark moments allow your senses to be awakened to the vibrancy of the greens and the blooms and give thanks for these signs of new life.

Further while we marvel at inventiveness and the imagination of the human spirit and pray that they will work to lessen the effects of Coronavirus / COVID-19. In the longer term that they may work to develop a vaccine. As we reflect on these things let us honour the hand of the divine in all these labours.

You may choose to close this time with the Lord’s Prayer and

Sustaining God, we receive the fruits of the earth from you. We give you thanks for the smell of the earth after rain, we ask that the rain come as often as it is needed and the warmth of the sun so that plants may flourish.

Lord you are present with us now,
Keep our hearts, soul, mind and body;
And protect us from all that would harm us,
And may we have Christ’s healing and Christ’s peace.

Derek Akker