My Two Cents
August 4, 2019, 1:00 PM

As you are out and about this summer, make sure to bring a good book and wear your sun screen. And while you are sitting in your beach chair or careening down the rapids, here are some relatively easy ways to include prayer.

 

PRAYER TIPS

 

1. Don't worry about the words. If prayer is "experiencing the presence of something larger than ourselves (my favorite definition) then all we really have to do is go to a place where we feel accompanied- or at least less alone. Where is your prayer place? Sitting behind the mower, or kneeling in the middle of the  garden? Watching the surf or looking out at the Blue Ridge from a scenic overlook? Or maybe it's closer to home. Sitting at the kitchen table with both hands wrapped around your favorite coffee mug. Don't make prayer too hard, just find your place and stay there for a while.

 

2. If you do use words, try using short phrases that have stood the test of time. For me there's been nothing quite like the first two verses of the 23rd Psalm to quiet my spirit. "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." Those might work for you, too, when life gets worrisome or frightening. Others have found great comfort in "Be still and know that I am God." “Do not let your hearts be         troubled." Repeating words like these is a great way to pray.

 

3. And for those moments when you need to count to ten in order to refrain from saying or doing something you will very soon regret, three prayers from our tradition might be helpful. Take the Lord’s Prayer on the road with you. It takes about twenty second to pray (okay, 25 if you use trespasses, and those who trespass against us). That should be plenty of time to cool down after being cut off in traffic or told that they just ran out of your favorite ice cream flavor.

 

4. One thing about summer? Lines. Lots of lines. While you’re waiting scroll through the contacts on your phone and create a mental picture of the names you see. That is prayer.

 

5. And finally even though we like to think of summer as a time for relaxation and good things, it ain't always the case, is it? We aren't immune to bad news just  because the beaches up and down the east coast are full. Sometimes life sneaks up on us and our vacation plans have to change. For those times, please, PLEASE be honest to God. Don't sugarcoat it. Let whomever you picture as God have it. Scream, shout, cuss, and carry on if that is what your spirit is calling you to do. Or don't. Just know that when it comes to prayer God is much more interested in our authentic selves than our church selves. And sometimes our angry prayers to a God who has really broad shoulders can be the first step toward healing.

 

So there you have it, a very incomplete list designed to do something all of us find very difficult- weave prayer into the ordinary of our lives. Safe travels!

 

Rick