Jesus says, “And whenever you pray . . .” Matthew 6:5
Dear People of St. David’s,
I pray that you and yours are well and that, like me, you are enjoying these early spring days with the early flowers and blossoms promising more beauty in all of our lives.
I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer this Lent and spending more time in prayer. Oh, I always pray for God’s closer presence and guidance in my life. I pray for myself and those close to me. I pray for you and for God’s blessings in your lives. I pray every day for God’s blessings on St. David’s Church. And I also pray about big things, most especially for peace and the end of this deadly and devastating conflict in Ukraine and for other events in our world that feel way beyond my control, inviting God to step in and change things and to change us.
But my thinking and praying over the past few weeks have been focused on what I am putting first. Am I thinking first or praying? Am I acting first or praying? I’ve found that I’ve fallen into a habit of thinking first or acting first before praying. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad habit because it’s good to think and act. But as I reflect on my life this Lent, I am finding that when I think first before prayer, the answers are not always there. And when I act first before praying, I’m finding that I often have to back up from what I’ve been doing and turn another direction or act with a different focus. Many of you may find yourself in this same struggle.
So instead, I’ve begun to pray first before thinking, to pray first before acting or doing something. I’m not sure I’m thinking more clearly about everything, but I am thinking clearly about more things and am experiencing some nudges or thoughts that are not mine alone. I’m certainly not acting or living perfectly, but I am feeling more peace and confidence as I go about my days than I did when I acted before I prayed.
Jesus was a pray-er and talked about prayer a lot with His first followers. His first followers noticed that Jesus prayed a lot and that when He prayed incredible teachings, healings, and miracles seemed to flow out of Him with incredible ease.
Jesus assumes that we will pray. Jesus assumes we will pray because He knows the blessings that will come from fellowship with God. Jesus knows the power that will be ours when we pray. Jesus is inviting us to pray first so that our thoughts become God’s thoughts and our lives become the lives God is calling us to live.
So let me invite you to start with prayer. Start your day with thanks to God. Invite God to make God’s presence known to you. Pray about what you are thinking on and pray before you act. For when we start with prayer for ourselves, for others, for St. David’s and for the world, we open the way for God to come in and for God to act. It may take us some time to always pray first, but I’m confident that putting God in and before all things will bring new life to all of us and to the world.
Grace and Peace,
The Rev. W. Frank Allen