Why?

This week we focus on prayer. As the poet George Herbert wrote, prayer is “God’s breath” returning us to our birth that is–that is, it is a life-giving conversation with God, a reminder of our indebtedness and gratitude to God, who is alway eager to hear our prayers.

Rev. Rebekah Costello

I call upon you, O Lord; come quickly to me; give ear to my voice when I call to you. Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. (Psalm 141:1-2)

Prayer is the church’s way of participating in the divine life and acts of God in our world. The Holy Spirit urges us to call on God the Father, through the Son, bringing our needs, our pains, our thanksgivings, and the world’s injustices into the divine life. Prayer is foremost a discipline of the church, following the pattern of how God has spoken, through the Son, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet, the Lenten discipline of prayer can become hollow to us amid longstanding injustice that breeds cynicism and merciless consumption that creates apathy. The cynical and apathetic parts of our soul question: Why pray to God if God already knows what we need? Why pray to God for anything if we have consumed all we need, and then some? Why pray for God to end the merciless and unjust ways of our world if the divine mind is impassibly determined? Under this weight, prayer becomes for us nothing more than an exercise in self-help overseen by a disinterested God. Imagine, rather, that prayer is a practice through which we actually participate in, contribute to, and argue for God’s acts of mercy and justice in this world! For certain, the Christian practice of prayer is asymmetrical. That is; we pray as creatures to the creator who has freedom and authority over us and all that exists. At the same time, God does seriously consider, in his freedom to act, upon what we have to say. Therefore, pray without ceasing.

Prayer: Gracious God, help us to know and understand the gift you have given us— prayer. Help us to be always mindful of your invitation to be a participant in the life of God and your kingdom here on earth. May our prayers never cease. Amen.

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